Roller derby coach under fire for jab at deaf player

  • 24/10/2014

A Wellington sportswoman has laid a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, saying she wasn't picked for a national team because she's deaf.

Marcia Taylor was shocked when the New Zealand roller derby coach appeared to have a go at her hearing loss.

Ms Taylor started losing her hearing at 12. She says it's never been a disability, so she took exception when the coach had a go at her deafness on Facebook after Ms Taylor failed to make her team.

Stacey Roper wrote on her Pieces of Hate Official Fan Page: "What I do not like is that everyone has to walk on eggshells around someone because they have a disability... These players have so much to take on. Expecting them to learn sign language in nine months on top of that is just not fair. I'm real sorry, but it's called a disability for a reason."

Ms Taylor says she is devastated.

"It was heart-breaking enough not to make it on the team. This is not sour grapes about not making it on the final 20; this is about comments, the attack on my identity and who I am and it's something I can't change."

Ms Roper says the comments were taken out of context.

"It was a silly off-the-cuff comment. It meant no disrespect. It was just trying to explain to people the thing you go through when you are looking at considering people for teams."

But Ms Taylor wants an apology and has complained to the Human Rights Commission.

"This is probably the first time I've felt discriminated against for anything, for who I am as a person," she says.

The Humans Rights Commission didn't want to comment on the complaint but its website clearly states it's unlawful to discriminate on the basis of disability including deafness.

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source: newshub archive