CM – NFL, Players Agree To End Race-Based Dementia Awards With $ 1 Billion Settlement


The revised test plan follows public outrage over the use of « race-norming, » which may have prevented black players from winning major awards.

PHILADELPHIA – The NFL and attorneys for thousands of retired NFL players have reached an agreement to end race-based dementia test adjustments in the settlement of $ 1 billion concussion claims, according to an agreement released on Wednesday at Federal court-filed deal.

Former NFL players Ken Jenkins (right) and Clarence Vaughn III (center right) as well as their wives Amy Lewis (center) and Brooke Vaughn (left) carry petitions calling for equal treatment for everyone in the settlement Involved in concussion claims against NFL stakeholders May 2021 / Associated Press / Matt Rourke

The revised test plan follows public outrage over the use of « race-norming, » a practice only revealed after two former NFL players filed a civil rights lawsuit last year. The adjustments, critics say, may have prevented hundreds of black players suffering from dementia from winning prizes averaging $ 500,000 or more.

Black retirees now have the option to reevaluate their tests or, in some cases, request a new round of cognitive tests, according to the settlement first reported in the New York Times on Wednesday Provides a race-neutral assessment process that ensures diagnostic accuracy and fairness in the concussion settlement, « said NFL attorney Brad Karp in a statement.

The proposal, which has yet to be approved by a judge, follows months of negotiations locked doors between the NFL, the retired players ‘class council and the black players’ attorneys who filed the lawsuit, Naje h Davenport and Kevin Henry.

The vast majority of the league’s players – 70% of active players and more than 60% of living retirees – are black. So the changes are expected to be significant and potentially costly to the NFL. « No racial norms or racial demographic estimates – black or white – may be used in the future settlement program, » the proposal reads > To date, the Concussion Fund has paid out $ 821 million for five types of brain injury, including early and advanced dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS.

Black gamblers lawyers suspect that white men qualified for awards two or three times as quickly since payouts began in 2017. It is unclear whether a racial breakdown of the payouts will ever be made or published.

Black NFL retiree Ken Jenkins and others have approached the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division for an investigation.

The binary rating system used at Dementia testing used – one for blacks, one for everyone else – was developed by neurologists in the 1990s to take into account a patient’s socio-economic background. Experts say it was never intended to determine payouts in a court settlement.

However, it was accepted by both sides in the 2013 court-approved settlement of $ 765 million that settled lawsuits, where the NFL was accused of hiding its knowledge of the risk of repeated concussions. The fund was later canceled due to concerns that it might run out of money.

That year, amid the national race settlements in America, both sides agreed to work to stop the use of race standardization assumes that black players start out with lower cognitive function. That makes it harder to show that they have a mental deficit associated with their playing time.

The NFL would not admit any wrongdoing under the agreement. The league hopes that the new test formula, which was developed with input from a panel of experts, will be widely used in medicine.

So far, around 2,000 men have applied for dementia bonuses, but only 30% have been approved. In some cases, the NFL appealed against payouts made to black men for doctors failing to use racial adjustment. The new plan would ban any challenges based on race.

Prices averaged $ 715,000 for people with advanced dementia and $ 523,000 for people with early dementia. The settlement is said to run for 65 years to cover everyone who was retired at the time of initial approval.

« The NFL should be really angry about race normalization. …. That should be unacceptable to her and all of her sponsors, ”said Roxanne“ Roxy ”Gordon of San Diego, the wife of a disabled former player, earlier this week.

Amon Gordon, a Stanford University graduate, is 40 unable to work. He qualified for an advanced dementia award twice, only to have the decision overturned for reasons that are not yet clear to them. His case is pending trial in the Philadelphia federal appeals court.

Nearly 20,000 NFL retirees have signed up for the settlement program, which offers surveillance, testing, and some compensation.

« When the new trial eliminates racial standardization and more people qualify, that’s great, « said Jenkins, who has no disability but stands up for those who do.

 » (But) we’re not going to get everything we wanted, « said Jenkins , an insurance manager, on Tuesday. « We want full transparency of all NFL demographic information – who applied, who was paid. » Senior US District Judge Anita B. Brody, who has overseen the settlement for a decade, dismissed Davenport and Henry’s lawsuit for procedural reasons. However, she later ordered the attorneys negotiating the 2013 settlement – New York plaintiff’s lawyer Christopher Seeger’s attorney for the players and Karp for the NFL – to work with a mediator to address the issue.

« His life is on ruined, « said Roxy Gordon of her husband, who had spent nearly a decade in the league as a defensive tackle or defensive end. “He’s a 40-year-old educated man who can’t even use his skills. It was terrible. ”

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