NFL concussion settlement 'race-norming'

Released: TBC

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A group of Black former National Football League (NFL) players has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that an evaluation system used for the NFL's USD 1 billion player concussion settlement favoured White players, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The players argue that the system blocked some Black claimants from securing payouts by assuming they had lower cognitive functioning when healthy than white players. 

According to The Guardian, 'Under the settlement, [..] the NFL has insisted on using a scoring algorithm on the dementia testing that assumes Black men start with lower cognitive skills. They must therefore score much lower than whites to show enough mental decline to win an award. The practice, which went unnoticed until 2018, has made it harder for Black former players to get awards.

In June 2021, the NFL agreed to halt the use of 'race-norming' and has since stated it would make changes to the concussion settlement. However, the claimants remain unclear how the changes might affect them, whether their prior tests will be rescored, or if they must go undergo another round of cognitive testing.

Operator: National Football League (NFL)
Developer: National Football League (NFL), BrownGreer
Country: USA
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Evaluate dementia claims
Technology: Scoring algorithm
Issue: Bias/discrimination - race
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Complaints/appeals


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