September 02, 2020

Wyden, Booker, Clarke and Waters Demand Answers From NFL on its Use of Race-Based Formula To Deny Payments to Black Ex-Players

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., questioned the National Football League’s use of a race-based formula to deny concussion settlement payments to Black former players.

In a letter sent today to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the members asked for an explanation of how the league’s race-based formula has been developed and used, after it was disclosed in a New York Times report.

“If these allegations are true, the algorithm used to modify the results of your cognitive evaluations appear to have the effect of denying Black players — a historically-disadvantaged and legally-protected group — compensation to which they would otherwise be entitled,” the members wrote. “This would raise serious questions about the NFL’s commitment to racial justice and compliance with the Federal law that mandates equal protection.”

Read the full letter here.

In their letter, Wyden, Booker, Clarke and Waters urged the NFL to stop using the controversial formula immediately.

“We urge you to immediately halt the use of any racially-based algorithms in the cognitive impairment evaluation until it can be determined, through a full independent review, that they do not have the effect of depriving Black players compensation they are owed. In the meantime, we also urge you to review Black players’ previously-denied claims to evaluate whether or not the denial was based on race,” they wrote in the letter.