The NFL is agreeing to end the practice of “race norming” in a billion-dollar concussion settlement.
Former NFL players Kevin Henry and Najeh Davenport filed suit against the NFL last year alleging that their concussion claims were denied because of “race norming,” which is the league’s practice of using different cognitive baselines for Black players.
Allegedly the adjustments may have prevented hundreds of Black players suffering from dementia to win awards that average $500,000 or more.
To date, the fund has paid out $821 million for five types of brain injuries, including early and advanced dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS.
The attorneys for the Black players suspect that White men were qualifying for awards at two or three times the rate of Blacks. It’s unclear whether a racial breakdown of payouts will ever be done or made public.
According to NBC Philadelphia, the billion-dollar agreement was leaked online Wednesday and still needs to be reviewed by a judge.
An attorney for Henry and Davenport called the settlement “a huge win for Black retired players,” and said he looks forward to “discussing it more fully once permitted.”
The retired NFL players will now have the chance to have their tests rescored or, in some cases, seek a new round of cognitive testing, according to the settlement, details of which were first reported in The New York Times on Wednesday.
“We look forward to the court’s prompt approval of the agreement, which provides for a race-neutral evaluation process that will ensure diagnostic accuracy and fairness in the concussion settlement,” NFL lawyer Brad Karp said in a statement.