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WWE Blocking Accessibility Without Closed Captioning

I’ve been a WWE fan since I was born and been watching their programming in the last twenty-one years. I bought the Pay-Per-Views (PPV), I have given up my free time to watch WWE programing that amounts to four-eight hours every-week not including the weeks that include PPVs  I still occasionally buy the WWE magazines, action figures and other merchandise.

Yet, I sometimes feel like the accessibility with the WWE has sometimes been unfair to me as a Deaf person. On their websites they provide videos of Wrestler interviews, clips and recaps of recent programming. They once even aired two shows online, “WWE Superstars” and “NXT”. I can’t enjoy any of the videos as I have no clue what they’re saying as none of the videos have the option for close captioning. With the shows airing on Hulu+, I do not have the confidence within me to believe they’ll provide close captions.

Raw, Smackdown any other show that airs on television have close captions for obvious reasons. As Federal Communications Commission requires all analog television receivers with screens 13 inches or larger sold or manufactured in the United States to contain built-in decoder circuitry to display closed captioning. (source: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/closed-captioning)

Yet, sometimes the close captioning on the main shows are atrocious. Take this for example:

Pro-Wrestling is not all about the wrestling aspect as the storylines have ways of progressing outside of the ring. You have wrestlers cutting promos. You have the commentary that does a play-by-play of the match which enhances the wrestlers profile and match in the eyes of fans.

With social media being ingrained to our lives, the WWE is now progressing their storylines and feud with Facebook, Twitter, TOUT and their own website. Interviewing their wrestlers gives them a chance to elaborate on their actions and on what they say which progresses the storyline.

If for whatever reason I miss Raw or Smackdown then I would go on the WWE website to see the recaps. I would have to search for articles as the videos are worthless to me without captions. Now let’s say that I’m overreacting as the videos with the interviews, recaps and other kinds of videos are essentially extra content.

Well, they previously air two one hour shows online via their site and they’re without close captions. They used to be on Television and when they were, the shows they had captions. Now that they’re online, I can’t hear the commentary, promos or even the back stage skits. Even with my cochlear implant on it sounds like those adults on Charlie Brown cartoons are talking with a, “Wah wah woh wah wah” kind of sound.

Even their YouTube videos don’t even provide captions.  Not even the crappy transcribe audio, which would AT least be something, even if it messes up on words to often to the point of forcing me to play a guessing game, but it’s better than nothing.

Now captions can aid the hearing folks as well since there are scenarios where captions can be useful for everyone. If you’re watching a PPV in a bar that is crowded, even a hearing person could have a hard time hearing a wrestler give a promo thus captions would be useful. Maybe you’re checking out some WWE content during class time or someone is sleeping nearby, the captions will help.

With the internet being integrated with businesses, sport organizations and virtually every aspect of our lives, it would seem like a no-brainer to have close captions as an option for their videos. If the WWE could not do that for whatever reason then they should provide transcripts at least.

I don’t just encounter this issue with the WWE website as I have the same issues with Yahoo.com as every time I click on of their news tabs and if I get a video I click back as they never provide captions for ANY of their videos unless I get lucky that it comes with an article. The same can be said about the Bleacher Report.

In this day and age there remains no excuses to NOT provide close captioning for any videos. I’m not going to sit on my hands and do nothing as I believe I have the right to be able to access the videos just as hearing people can. I’ll probably write some letters to the WWE or least walk right into the WWE headquarters and try, hopefully not in vain, to get captioning for all the online videos that the WWE provides!

I might not accomplish anything of importance as I’m just one dude but it’s better than doing nothing while hoping on a whim that they add captions.

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