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NFL dumps race-norming from concussion settlement

NFL analyst and former head coach Bill Cowher talks about his memoirs and the women who influenced him the most.

The lawsuit attacking the concussion settlement was dismissed. It also has resulted in a resounding victory.

The NFL has agreed that the practice of race-norming will be abandoned from the assessment of claims made under the settlement.

“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, via the Associated Press.

In other words, all claims previously made under the concussion settlement will be reopened and reassessed without the discriminatory practice of presuming lower baseline cognitive functioning for Black players, which made it harder for Black players to show that they suffered impairment.

It’s a significant concession by the league, and it’s also the right thing to do. The team-by-team costs of the concussion settlement amount to a drop in the ever-growing multi-billion-dollar bucket. Although the league’s potential liability was made unlimited in order to secure approval of the settlement, the settlement avoided the possibility of what could have been a much larger verdict and the reality of what would have been the disclosure of significant information regarding what the knew and when the NFL knew it regarding head injuries.

The development comes on the same day that lawyer Christopher Seeger, who represents the class of all retired players, admitted that he was wrong to allow race-norming to be utilized in the assessment of claims under the concussion settlement.