NFL Wednesday pledged to stop the use of “race-norming” — which supposedly started black players with reduced cognitive functioning — in a $1 billion settlement of brain injury claims and scores for anyone Please review Possible race bias.
This practice made it difficult for black players to show deficits and qualify for the award. The standards were designed in medicine in the 1990s in the hope of offering more appropriate treatment for dementia patients, but critics blamed the way it was used to assess legal harm in the NFL case.
Wednesday’s announcement came after a pair of black players filed a civil rights lawsuit over the practice, raising concerns medical experts and a group of NFL families dropped 50,000 petitions last month in Federal Court in Philadelphia — where the lawsuit was thrown out by a judge. Was given the supervision of the settlement.
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Senior US District Judge Anita B. Brody later took the unusual step of seeking a report on the issue. Black retirees expect this to include a breakdown of nearly $800 million in pay so far by race. They fear the data will never come out.
“Words are cheap. Let’s see what they do,” exclaims former Washington pick Ken Jenkins, whose wife, Amy Lewis, led the petition campaign on behalf of NFL friends struggling with cognitive problems. Jenkins, an insurance executive has been spared so far.
According to the NFL, a panel of neuropsychologists recently formed to propose a new testing regime in court includes two women and three black doctors.
“The replacement criteria will apply prospectively and retrospectively to players who would otherwise be eligible for an award, but for the application of race-based criteria,” the NFL said in a statement issued Wednesday by spokesman Brian McCarthy.
Christopher Seeger, attorney for the key players who negotiated the 2013 settlement with the NFL, said earlier this year that he saw no evidence of racial bias in the administration of settlement funds. He amended those comments on Wednesday, apologizing for any pain the program has caused.
“I am sorry for the pain this episode has caused black former players and their families. Ultimately, this settlement only works if the former players believe in it, and my goal is to regain their faith. And it is to ensure that the NFL is fully accounted for,” Seeger said in a statement.
Both Seeger and the NFL say the practice was never mandated, but left up to the discretion of doctors participating in the program. However, the NFL appealed some claims filed by black players if their scores were not adjusted for race.
“If it wasn’t for the wives, who were all involved in the red tape, this never would have happened,” Jenkins said of the issue being noticed, three years later for Pittsburgh Steelers’ lawyers for Kevin Henry. And Najeh Davenport says he picked it up first.
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Binary race criteria, when they are used in testing, assume that black patients start out with worse cognitive function than whites and other non-blacks. This makes it difficult for them to show a deficit and qualify for the award. For example, Henry and Davenport were denied awards but were white, according to their lawsuit, which Brody dismissed in March, calling it an unfair “collateral attack” on the settlement. He has appealed this decision.
According to the latest report, more than 2,000 NFL retirees have filed claims for dementia, but fewer than 600 have received awards. According to lawyers involved in the lawsuit, more than half of all NFL retirees are black.
The awards to date averaged $516,000 for 379 players with early-stage dementia and more than $715,000 for 207 players with moderate dementia. Retirees can also demand payment for Alzheimer’s disease and certain other diagnoses. The settlement ended thousands of lawsuits that accused the NFL of longtime concealing what it knew about the link between sprains and traumatic brain injury.
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