Marlee Matlin & Super Bowl Viewers Slam CBS for Not Showing ASL Performers

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Prior to the Super Bowl LVIII, Marlee Matlin, an Oscar winner and Deaf actor, made sure that people knew about the ASL (American Sign Language) performers who would be part of the Super Bowl LVIII pre-game. However, after the three performances, she then took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to criticize what aired on the CBS broadcast. (The game was available on a few networks and streaming services, also including Nickelodeon and Paramount+.)

“I am absolutely SHOCKED at @CBS for introducing the Deaf performers at today’s pregame #SuperBowl and then not showing even one second (or more) of their performance… as has been tradition for the last 30 years. WHY!?” Matlin asked in her post.

Andra Day performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Post Malone sang “American the Beautiful,” and Reba McEntire say the national anthem. The ASL performers for the three were actor and choreographer Shaheem Sanchez, actor Anjel Piñero, and actor Daniel Durant (who starred in CODA with Matlin), respectively. The videos of the performances, which you can watch below, from the NFL’s YouTube page do show the ASL performers introduced before Day, Post Malone, and McEntire, but not during the songs, other than a brief glimpse of Sanchez during Day’s performance, as one viewer noted.

Other users on X shared her shock, with one writing, “32 national anthem performances since 1992, most ASL performers appeared on screen for 8% or less of the broadcasted song, We shouldn’t have to go to an online source to view it regardless if it’s DPAN, CBS, or whoever. They all preach equality, but same conversation yr after yr.” That stat in the post comes from an analysis by Axios just days before the Super Bowl.

“They only do it to say they did it. It’s unfortunate that they’re not on screen during their whole presentation, which is what they are intended for,” wrote another user. Added another, “I was both disappointed and disgusted. It was very upsetting.” Agreeing with Matlin’s post, one viewer wrote in reply, “This was the first thing I thought as well… feels like a big miss.”

“Another #SuperBowl where they celebrate the #Deaf performer and then show 0% of the ASL performance. Be better, @CBSSports. Show the ASL PERFORMANCES,” one Super Bowl viewer wrote.

See more reactions below.

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