2020 has been a horrible year for professional sports.
First the government-imposed lockdowns postponed and altered seasons, then athletes went “woke” and decided all their actions had to be political.
Now the NFL is facing shocking allegations over how it doles out payments for concussions.
Two retired players, Najeh Davenport and Kevin Henry filed legal actions against the NFL claiming the NFL “explicitly and deliberately” discriminate against black players who filed dementia-related claims in the concussion settlement reached in 2013.
Najeh Davenport, a former running back, racked up 10 concussions during his seven seasons with the NFL, including a crushing blow that broke bones in his eye socket.
Former defensive end Kevin Henry also sustained a number of concussions during his eight year career with the Steelers.
In the suit, the players want to stop the league from using race-based benchmarks to evaluate players’ claims. They are also asking that the scores on black players’ neurocognitive exams be recalculated using “race neutral” scales to put them on an even playing field with white players.
The NFL dismissed the lawsuits claims in a statement, saying the suit was “entirely misguided” and argued the 2013 settlement “always contemplated the use of recognized statistical techniques to account for demographic differences such as age, education and race.”
“The point of such adjustments — in contrast to the complaint’s claims — is to seek to ensure that individuals are treated fairly and compared against comparable groups.”
In 2019, Davenport took a neurological exam by an NFL-approved doctor who said his use of language and executive functioning were impaired enough to receive compensation.
The NFL appealed the claim, saying when his scores were recalculated accounting for his race, which the NFL maintains is an “industry standard,” Davenport no longer qualified.
“You give this game so much. Just to think that they would do that just to save a few dollars, it’s disheartening,” Davenport said.
Henry had a similar story, with the same outcome after the scores were recalculated.
“I just feel betrayed by the N.F.L., I want to make that clear,” Henry said. “It just makes all this that much harder to take.”
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