It was projected that over 100 million people would be viewing the Super Bowl today on February 2, 2020. (February 2, 2020). For the past 28 years, there has been an ASL performer who performs the National Anthem simultaneously with the voice singer. And every single year, we watch in disappointment when we discover that the networks do not show the ASL performer for as long as, if not longer than, the voice signer.
Over the past two weeks, the National Association of the Deaf [NAD] took the time to make two announcements that excited many community members, one of which included the selection of Christine Sun Kim:
“FOX Sports reports [that] streaming of the pregame including Christine Sun Kim’s ASL performances of the National Anthem and ‘America, The Beautiful’ will be shown on [the] FOX Sports app, FOX Sports YouTube, and FOXsports.com under ‘Bonus Feed’ starting at 6:15 PM EST.” (National Association of the Deaf on Facebook)
Many were under the impression from the announced FOX Sports broadcast coverage of the ASL performance that Kim would appear on national television, where most viewers would be watching the game, and that was not the case. Disappointment over the fact that Kim appeared for less than a minute on national television was a common reaction. Viewers noticed that Kim was not displayed for the entire time either on FOXSports YouTube.
Marlee Matlin, a Deaf actress who has signed the National Anthem three times at the Super Bowl, called on all of the networks that showed the Super Bowl game on television imploring them to change this process and to please show ASL on television:
To ALL networks: the next time at the #SuperBowl when the signer like Chris Sun Kim performs the National Anthem and America The Beautiful they should visible on the broadcast the WHOLE time not just a few seconds. SHOW the beauty of ASL, either in a bubble, split-screen or next to the signer. It’s TIME!
Only three years earlier, the NAD announced that the National Football League and FOX Sports would be committed to ensuring that the Super Bowl is accessible for all.
DPAN TV had a special halftime show (the third time they’ve done this) on their Facebook channel live with Michai Hanley front and center interpreting the show with both Jennifer Lopez and Shakira on the background screen. Hanley worked with her team of two other interpreters, Amber Galloway and Kelly Kurdi, to provide access to the halftime show for the community.
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 after an all-out fourth quarter rally and won the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years.