TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s the latest in a decade-long legal saga over concussions in the NFL: Hundreds of Black NFL retirees who were denied payouts in a concussion settlement now qualify for awards after their tests were re-scored to eliminate racial bias.
The players now qualify for financial compensation from the league’s $1 billion concussion settlement.
A 2020 lawsuit uncovered dementia tests were “race-normed,” or adjusted, which made it more difficult for Blacks to prove they had the disorder and qualify for awards.
Changes to the settlement are meant to make the tests race blind.
Ian Beckles played nine years in the league, which included seven in Tampa Bay. He says right now, there’s no reason to celebrate.
“Players should have gotten that in the first place,” Beckles said. “The NFL should be ashamed of themselves on what they just admitted to. They just admitted that I’m considered dumber than my white counterpart.”
According to a report released Friday by the law firm handling claims against the NFL, nearly 650 men have had their test rescored.
61 have early to moderate dementia and 250 more have milder dementia. All of them initially failed to qualify because of the race norming issues in testing.
Former player and president of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the NFL alumni Association Walter Carter hopes as many players who deserve compensation get compensated.
“I think it’s something that’s long overdue,” Carter said. “Whatever you can get out of this life you should and if you’re due whatever you’re due the time is now.”
Thousands of other Black retirees will likely look to have their tests rescored, to see whether they qualify.