Federal lawsuit suggests Cubs prioritized rich followers over the disabled, and we’re shocked

Tom Ricketts is a doofus

Tom Ricketts is a doofus
Picture: Getty Photographs

Who might have ever seen this coming from a household just like the Ricketts?

Even should you’ve been being attentive to the ongoing saga of the Chicago Cubs’ house owners actively making an attempt to alienate almost every fan of their organization, you’ll have missed the newest entry into what’s turning into often called The Ricketts Household vs. Chicago.

Right this moment, the US Lawyer’s Workplace filed a federal lawsuit in opposition to Chicago Baseball Holdings, LLC and others, claiming that Cubs didn’t maintain Wrigley Area in compliance with the Individuals With Disabilities Act (ADA) following intensive renovations of the stadium, which started in 2014. Which may sound like authorized jargon that isn’t all that attention-grabbing, however right here’s what it means in plain English: The Cubs eliminated a bunch of options that made Wrigley Area accessible to these in wheelchairs in an effort to set up extra premium and luxurious seating.

With regards to taking it on to the Cubs, the US Lawyer’s grievance doesn’t maintain again:

The grievance additionally alleges that the crew “didn’t take away architectural boundaries to entry in unaltered parts of Wrigley Area the place it was readily achievable to take action. This all occurred regardless that the Cubs rebuilt a lot of Wrigley Area as a part of the 1060 Challenge and thus had ample alternative and a big ADA obligation to include wheelchair seating and different accessible components into and all through the brand new and improved facility.”

Um… yikes.

These allegations aren’t information to anybody who follows the Cubs intently. Even earlier than the renovations started, Wrigley Area was notoriously troublesome for these with mobility points to navigate, principally as a result of age of the park. However quickly after the renovations have been unveiled, there have been a number of accounts of followers in wheelchairs and walkers being unable to get to their seats or the restrooms, each within the grandstand and within the bleachers, circulating on social media. It’s exhausting to think about that the Cubs, who’re famously delicate about what is claimed about them on social media, have been unaware of those points. What is less complicated to think about is that they took no steps to rectify the state of affairs between then and now.

The grievance additional alleges that, whereas wheelchair seating within the bleachers was, previous to the renovations, had “wonderful, unobstructed views over standing spectators on the primary bleacher concourse in proper discipline, however the Cubs eradicated these wheelchair seats in the course of the 1060 Challenge by changing that area into the Budweiser Patio.” If that sentence doesn’t sum up the Ricketts’ tenure in a nutshell, nothing does. Now, nonetheless, wheelchair seating within the bleachers “are positioned within the final row of the bleachers on newly constructed porches … reasonably than on the primary bleacher concourse degree, which is farther ahead and nearer to the sector.”

Worse, most of the designated wheelchair spots within the bleachers are actually positioned within the “batter’s eye” space, which is roofed by a mesh tarp. The US Lawyer alleges that it will get “unbearably sizzling” underneath the tarp, which I can verify, having as soon as gotten warmth stroke underneath there. What an amazing place to park individuals, lots of whom are aged, for three-plus hours! Moreover, there isn’t any coverage holding ambulatory bleacher followers from standing within the batter’s eye, which consider me, occurs quite a bit, as a result of individuals go there to flee the unrelenting solar in heart discipline. Ushers are speculated to police followers from blocking the views of these in wheelchairs, however they’re normally too busy stopping followers from making beer cup snakes to note.

The grievance goes on to element all the opposite areas of the park the place wheelchair seating has been drastically decreased, together with locations just like the Hornitos Hacienda, the Fannie Might Candy (I do know), and the Maker’s Mark Barrel Room. The grievance doesn’t point out the cringe issue of getting each part of your loved one landmark ballpark named after some tacky company sponsor.

Additional, the grievance alleges that Wrigley additionally has a number of non-seating points all through the park, equivalent to counters, concessions, restroom hand dryers, and ticket home windows which are too excessive for these in wheelchairs to succeed in, “protruding objects alongside circulation paths” that may be a hazard for these with imaginative and prescient issues, and parking heaps with unfastened gravel and different surfaces that make navigation almost not possible for wheelchairs. Wow, it’s nearly like they prioritized rich followers over the disabled when renovating Wrigley.

The US Lawyer seeks redress within the type of a courtroom order forcing the Cubs to carry all of Wrigley Area into ADA compliance, compensatory damages to these followers affected by the present state of the ballpark, and extra civil penalties because the US District Court docket sees match.

Who might have ever seen such blatant cynicism coming from a household that allowed the crew to harbor two home abusers and an open homophobe, held a fundraiser for Donald Trump at Wrigley Area, and destroyed the neighborhood round Wrigley so they may construct motels and cornball eating places?

Deadspin can fortunately report, nonetheless, that the a number of elevators that carry rich followers to their luxurious suites are pristine and all the time in working situation. 

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