NFL Ends Practice Of ‘Race-Norming’, Will Review Past Injury Claims & Scores For Potential Racial Bias

NFL Ends Practice Of ‘Race-Norming’, Will Review Past Injury Claims & Scores For Potential Racial Bias

Could the NFL be taking a step towards racial equality?

Yesterday (Wednesday, June 2nd), the NFL issued an announcement in which they pledged to end the process of “race-norming.” The controversial practice is based on the belief that Black players had lower cognitive functions than others. Resultingly, “race-norming” made it harder for Black players to prove cognitive deficit as a result of brain injuries and receive proper financial compensation. In other words, it was harder for Black athletes to solidly prove deficits as opposed to non-Black athletes.

The NFL‘s announcement came about as a result of a $1 billion lawsuit filed by two retired Black players. Additionally, petitions and medical experts’ testimonies helped make the case. Thanks to these efforts, the NFL will both cease the controversial practice of ‘race-norming’ and review past claims for potential racial bias and rescoring.

With the halt of “race-norming,” the NFL claims that it formed a diverse array of neuropsychologists to create a new testing regimen. In a statement, an NFL spokesman claimed:

“We are committed to eliminating race-based norms in the program and more broadly in the neuropsychological community. The parties to the settlement have been working with the magistrate judge and have assembled the leading members of the neuropsychological industry to help identify alternative testing techniques.”

The statement continued:

“Everyone agrees race-based norms should be replaced, but no off-the-shelf alternative exists and that’s why these experts are working to solve this decades-old issue. 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.”

Additionally, lead players lawyer Christopher Seeger stated:

“I am sorry for the pain this episode has caused Black former players and their families. Ultimately, this settlement only works if former players believe in it, and my goal is to regain their trust and ensure the NFL is fully held to account.”

In response to the NFL’s announcement, former Washington running back Ken Jenkins–whose wife, Amy Lewis, led the petition drive–said:

“Words are cheap. Let’s see what they do.”

As a result of the NFL’s $1 billion settlement, numerous lawsuits regarding the league’s failure to establish the link between concussions and traumatic brain injury have now ended. Additionally, this would presumably make it easier for Black athletes to successfully prove their brain injuries and, resultingly, receive proper compensation.

What do you think about the NFL ending the practice of “race-norming”? Comment down below to let us know!


Authored by: Nick Fenley