An Indiana referee was reportedly booed on Tuesday night after telling an interpreter for a deaf high school basketball player that she couldn’t sign to the player in front of the bench. Although the interpreter had walked alongside the coach all season, the referee instructed her to stand in a specific spot at the end of the bench after the game had started, The Indianapolis Star reports.
“That’s wrong!” people shouted from the stands, per The Indianapolis Star.
The deaf student was playing for Culver Community High School in northern Indiana.
Bobby Cox, commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association, said in a statement provided to Yahoo Lifestyle that the school coaching staff didn’t initially inform the refs that an interpreter was there to assist a player.
“Once it was established this particular individual was an interpreter for the student, she maintained a position outside the marked coaching box near the scorer’s table in order to be seen from both sides of the court,” Cox’s statement said.
Culver has a deaf player on its roster, so coach Tom Krueger is accompanied by a sign language interpreter to communicate. pic.twitter.com/3SV37hQgEm
— 46 WHME Sports (@46Sports) December 19, 2018
His statement further explained that only a head coach is allowed to stand within the established coaching box during a live ball situation. And during this particular game, Culver’s assistant coach was given a technical foul for comments they made, which meant all coaches had to remain seated for the rest of the game.
“Even so, the interpreter was allowed to continue standing throughout the remainder of the contest when the deaf student was in the game,” Cox’s statement read. “We find no evidence where the interpreter’s access to the student was ever restricted.”
Not everyone saw it that way, though. A Facebook post from a woman who was at the game said the whole incident started when a coach from the other team was “yelling” about Culver having two coaches standing at the same time. When the assistant coach tried to explain that one of the people standing was an interpreter for a deaf player, he received a technical.
“SHAME ON EVERYONE OF YOU, I would rather us lose for taking a stand for a player than win for discriminating!” Jenny Clingler wrote on Facebook.
Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO and director of legal services for the National Association of the Deaf, told The Indianapolis Star that it’s clear “the referee is wrong.”
“Regardless of what the rules are for who may be on the sidelines, even if they limit access to coaches only, denying an interpreter is a violation of federal laws mandating equal access for deaf people,” Rosenblum added.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Oregon couple pays for 45 hotel rooms to house homeless on snowy night
- ‘Dog Park Debbie’ calls the police on man whose puppy mounted her dog: ‘That’s inappropriate’
- ‘I am a strong, independent person’: Rodeo star who uses a wheelchair insulted by treatment at airport