Supporters: No One Saw Miss Deaf America At Super Bowl

Updated 02/07/12 – 4:45 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS (CBS) — Miss Deaf America – Arlington Heights native Rachel Mazique – was invited to the Super Bowl to sign the national anthem and “America the Beautiful,” but nobody saw her on TV.

Now, as WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, Mazique’s supporters are demanding an apology from NBC and the NFL for not showing her.

TV cameras showed Kelly Clarkson singing the national anthem, along with the players, the coaches, a choir, and even soldiers in Afghanistan, but did not show Mazique signing the lyrics.

As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, the slight – or oversight – was getting plenty of attention from activists online.

An online petition has been mounted via, demanding an apology from the NFL and NBC. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had collected more than 3,000 signatures.

“Millions of people had the opportunity to see the song signed beautifully by a young Deaf woman who had a genuine intention of nothing but getting the message across that Deaf people can do anything,” the petition says. “This moment has passed by and it never can be redone again. The opportunity is gone. Young children and adults from all over the world missed the chance of seeing that Deaf people like Ms. Mazique can be successful in the real world and barriers can be broken.”

Health and Disability Advocates CEO Barbara Otto said she signed the petition as soon as she saw it.

“It could be either a slight, or it could be an oversight. One thing I do know is that it’s behind the times and, whether it is the NFL or whether it’s NBC, they kind of have to get with the program,” she said.

The situation has upset many groups advocating on behalf of the disabled community. Mazique herself – an Arlington Heights native – is quoted on the petition as saying, “I’m as disappointed as you are that American Sign Language gained no exposure. I am so sorry you didn’t get the chance to see me on TV, and I thank you all for your support and excitement.”

The online group wants more, though, and Otto said attitudes still have to change.

“I still think there’s a lot of labeling of people with disabilities as being the other or being different. And, as I said, it’s time for all of us to start thinking beyond the label, because all of us have something that’s different or uniquely different about us.”

The deaf community is rallying behind Miss Deaf America, saying her treatment was unacceptable, and the community says it will be heard.

Mazique told the Daily Herald that not only did she not get on TV, but she doesn’t think she ever made the JumboTron either. She also was not positioned near Clarkson, and was not even invited to stay for the game, the Daily Herald reported.

The NFL did not respond to requests for comment.

  • southside

    this isn’t news. It is whining.

    • Dave

      Look, we deaf people are not alone for whining. You gotta take a look at M.I.A flipping the bird call. Most people are whining, too. You should take a look at the Arlington Height native Deaf America Rachel Mazique signed this song beautifully. I believe you have no respect for the deaf (period0.

  • really?

    How do you sign “Whhhaaaa”?

  • Ryan Chorzempa

    “Sign”? Why would she “sign” anything? She could SING a song. She could have SUNG a song. She cannot SIGN a song. Wow CBS.

    • JoannaD

      Can you even read???

    • USAMade

      Did you read the story? Maybe CBS will provide pictures for you next time

      • Ryan Chorzempa

        Perhaps I am getting hung up on the mechanics of the idea. Is it still a song if it is signed? It is just a translation, interpretation if you will, at that point. It would be like someone holding up a teleprompter or cue-cards displaying the words of the song. Either way, it’s unfortunate for her she did not get her moment of fame.

    • bob

      Ya man, read the article before you talk. You’ll look like less of a dingus.

  • zzzzz

    to chris peterson, southside and really? Let’s hope that you never have someone in your family be born deaf or lose their hearing for what ever reason. remember what goes around comes around. let’s hope that you don’t get ask to something like this and then oops they forget you, you’ll be the first to cry!!

  • toonces

    ….and she didn’t hear them.

  • juju

    is someone going to call her?

  • Daisy

    If NBC was not going to let Rachel sign the song, then why did they invite her? Its like inviting Kelly to sing and not let her do that at the last moment. All they had to do is let her stand next to Kelly and have her sign while Kelly sang.

  • Andrea

    They usually show this on TV, so I was quite surprised that I did not see someone, or several someones signing the National Anthem. Ryan C.: really? A song has words. Words can be signed. It’s sign language!!! That’s how the deaf and hearing impaired people communicate.

  • Pro-veteran

    How about an apology to the many wounded veterans that were also invited to the game -but also did not receive any recognition? While I believe the ability to sign ‘beautifully’ is an art well learned by more of us-it took no particular ‘sacrifice’ on her part to get a free trip for herself (and I am sure at least one other person) along with free super-bowl tix.

    • jamie

      She was actually not invited to stay for the game. She was escorted out as soon as she finished signing her song which ended up being pretty much pointless due to no television air time as well as no jumbotron time.

  • Die Hard Sout' Sider

    She can’t hear us. We can’t hear her. It all evens out in the end.

  • Alfred Haynes

    Who cares?! With all the REAL NEWS that goes unreported in Chicago, why are you wasting keystrokes on this story?

  • Sarah

    I’m not deaf and I have no deaf acquaintances at this time although I have in the past. I don’t know sign but seems to me with all the progress that has been made in recent years, you ‘d think that having someone – anyone – sign at an event like the Super Bowl would be common place. I’m highly disappointed with those who could have made the Super Bowl so much more if they had a person like Rachel sign our National Anthem.

  • Andrea Shettle, MSW

    I’m not particularly disappointed for Ms Rachel Mazique herself. Sometimes disappointments happen, it is, unfortunately, part of life. As a fellow Deaf person, however, I AM very disappointed for those of us who are members of the Deaf community. This could have been a rare opportunity for the entire Deaf community, and our beautiful language, to draw the attention of, not just the nation, but the world. Many people still today question the capabilities of Deaf people and doubt whether we should be hired for jobs. Instead of simply ASKING us how we would work around the obvious barriers, some employers simply decide not to interview us at all. I have a good job now, but have been there in facing that discrimination, as do many of my Deaf peers. Putting Ms Mazique on screen during the Super Bowl could have helped silence these skeptics.

    THIS is why NBC’s failure to put her on the screen matters so much–not simply because it robbed this one person of her moment of fame but because this failure cheated the entire Deaf community.

    In other words … ditto to what Jamie said on Feb. 7.

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