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MLB asks broadcasts to honor 25th anniversary of Disabilities Act

By
Doug G. Ware
Major League Baseball has requested that broadcasters of Sunday's games honor the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act by acknowledging disabled fans in the stands at venues nationwide, such as PNC Park in Pittsburgh (pictured). Photo: UPI/Archie Carpenter
Major League Baseball has requested that broadcasters of Sunday's games honor the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act by acknowledging disabled fans in the stands at venues nationwide, such as PNC Park in Pittsburgh (pictured). Photo: UPI/Archie Carpenter | License Photo

WASHINGTON, July 24 (UPI) -- Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and one of the nation's three major sports leagues wants to honor the landmark legislation during broadcasts of all games that day.

Major League Baseball has requested that all televised broadcasts of Sunday's games acknowledge fans with disabilities in the stands.

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"This gesture by MLB is being celebrated by the disability community as a key milestone," the initiative's creator, Greg Smith, said in a statement to The Washington Post. "TV time and acknowledgement of our community are important for us to develop disability pride and begin to put our spin on pop culture."

Smith, who is disabled himself, believes sporting broadcasts have historically shied away from showing disabled fans in broadcasts.

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"I have been watching baseball on TV my whole life and I have never seen one shot of a fan with a discernible disability," he said.

"This was a simple concept to embrace," Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said. "People with disabilities are a part of the fabric of what baseball fans are. It doesn't change what we are doing during games. It merely shifts the focus of our cameras between innings or during stoppages in play to a deserving segment of the crowd."

In all, 15 games are scheduled for Sunday but it's up to each broadcaster to acquiesce to Major League Baseball's request.

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Passed by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W.Bush in 1990, the ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law that forbids discrimination based on a person's disability. It also required U.S. employers to provide necessary accommodations to employees with physical limitations.

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