The National Football League has officially ended a “race-norming” policy that assumed black players had a lower cognitive function compared to non-black players.
The ending of race-norming assists in the payout process in the $1 billion-plus settlement of class-action concussion litigation against the league.
The NFL used an assessment algorithm for dementia testing that assumed Black men already had lower cognitive skills before an injury. As a result, the policy made it more difficult for Black NFL players to prove a decline in their brain health and that has prevented several of the players from qualifying for money from that settlement.
The announcement comes after two players filed a civil rights lawsuit, while medical experts also denounced the policy. The lawsuit, however, was dismissed by a judge, so a petition was started by a group of NFL families that gained more than 50,000 signatures and was delivered to a court in Philadelphia.
According to the NFL, a panel of neuropsychologists has recently been set up to propose a new test system to the court, which includes two female and three black doctors.
“The replacement norms will be applied prospectively and retrospectively for those players who otherwise would have qualified for an award but for the application of race-based norms,” the NFL said in a statement on Wednesday.