In the 46-page document, the NFL and other parties said, “No Race Norms or Race Demographic Estimates — whether Black or White — shall be used in the Settlement Program going forward” and no party is allowed to appeal the claims based on the merit of race or the use of race norms.
The Times report also said an expert panel will organize new norms that will be applicable to “all future neuropsychological tests under the program, all claims that have not yet been ruled on, and all claims that are currently on appeal in which race norms or race demographic estimates may be at issue.”
“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,” Brad Karp, a lawyer for the NFL, said in a statement to the Times.
The league agreed to pay $765 million, without admitting fault, to fund medical exams and compensate players for concussion-related health issues, among other things.
According to court documents, former players being evaluated for neurocognitive impairment were assumed to have started with worse cognitive function if they were Black. So if a Black player and a White player received the exact same scores on a battery of thinking and memory tests, the Black player would appear to have suffered less impairment. And therefore, the lawsuit stated, would be less likely to qualify for a payout.
CNN has reached out to Christopher Seeger, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, and the NFL, but has not yet received responses.