Fan Did Not Want To Be "The Grinch Who Stole The Super
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 22, 2003
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA--For any of you who may have been worried about it, Super Bowl XXXVIII will go on this Sunday as planned.
But failures on the part of the City of San Diego to make Qualcomm Stadium accessible to fans with disabilities nearly stopped the event before it got started.
Beverly Walker, an avid sports fan who uses a wheelchair, is tired of battling the city to make the facility more disability-friendly and to comply with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. Years of advocating for accessible -- but not separate -- seating, for example, were ignored until she used the word "lawsuit" in 1997.
After many more months of delays the city finally settled, agreeing to make the necessary changes by April of last year and to save a certain number of tickets for fans with disabilities.
By December 2002 it was clear that some of the work still was not completed. Walker also learned that the NFL (National Football League) had no intention of setting aside Super Bowl tickets as agreed to in the settlement.
So, in an attempt to give the city a "kick in the pants" to focus on completing the work, she and her lawyer filed an injunction asking the court to suspend the Super Bowl.
"We felt that, if they thought maybe the Super Bowl was in jeopardy, maybe that would get them to make the modifications a little faster," Walker told the San Diego City Beat.
On January 9, Judge Leo Papas denied her request for an injunction.
Even so, Walker sees the attempt as a victory.
"I believe that the disabled community won, and we won because we got more things accomplished in the stadium over a shorter period of time," she explained. "I believe that if we hadn't [filed an injunction], disabled people would have went to the Super Bowl and found that there were a lot more things non-compliant that were potentially dangerous."