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NFL, former players reach agreement to end race-norming in concussion settlement program


(NEW YORK) — After several months of confidential negotiations, the NFL and attorneys for former players have reached an agreement that will end the controversial practice of race-norming in the league’s landmark concussion settlement program.

The deal, which was filed under seal but obtained by ABC News on Wednesday, also outlines a process for reevaluating past claims for compensation that may have been affected by race-based adjustments to cognitive test scores, which sources familiar with the matter say could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional payouts to former players and their families.

Following an ABC News investigation earlier this year, which uncovered emails and data suggesting that the league’s protocols made it more difficult for Black former players to qualify for compensation, the federal judge overseeing the program ordered the NFL and attorneys for former players into mediation to “address the concerns” about the use of race-norming.

The judge later granted a petition to intervene from attorneys for two Black former players, Kevin Henry and Najeh Davenport, who had filed a lawsuit challenging the terms of the original settlement.

Both the league and the class counsel for former players initially defended the practice but ultimately reversed course and sought to reform the program in the face of mounting public pressure and scrutiny.

Spokespersons for the NFL and the attorneys for former players have not responded to requests for comment.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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