joined a chorus of people
on social media
this week criticizing the NFL
for using "race-norming" to determine players' eligibility for brain injury
The league announced on Wednesday that it would discontinue using the scoring system, which assumes that Black men begin with lower cognitive abilities.
According to The Washington Post
, the NFL said in a statement, "We are committed to eliminating race-based norms in the program and more broadly in the neuropsychological community."
Reid outlined the racist
assumptions underlying “race-norming” in a tweet on Thursday: “‘Race-norming’ = blacks
are dumber than whites so the brain injuries they suffered didn’t affect them as traumatically bc they were dumb to begin with.”
“race-norming” = blacks are dumber than whites, so the brain injuries they received didn’t affect them as traumatically because they were dumb to begin withNFL: *uses race norming*Also NFL: the norms were developed “to stop bias in testing, not perpetrate it” https://t.co/4eZhcO9yx0
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) June 3, 2021
Former NFL players Najeh Davenport and Kevin Henry made a similar argument when they sued the league last year, claiming that “race-norming” made Black former football
players less likely to be eligible for benefits as part of the league’s $1 billion brain injury settlement.
The scoring algorithm used to determine cognitive impairment in these neuropsychological tests that use "race norming" requires Black men to score lower than their white counterparts in order to receive a diagnosis of a brain-related disease.
According to The Associated Press
, while the NFL has denied that the practice was ever mandatory, it has appealed Black players' claims if their scores were not adjusted for race.
Dr. Art Caplan, a medical ethicist at New York
University, told the Associated Press last month that he thought the practice was "problematic," because it was "too closely linked to racism
“It still appears to be attempting to exclude people rather than doing what is right, which is to assist people who have clinically obvious and severe disability
,” he said.
Senior U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
dismissed Davenport and Henry's lawsuit
earlier this year, but she asked the NFL and the players' lead lawyer in the brain injury settlement program, Chris Seeger, to investigate the matter through mediation.
Seeger, who previously stated that he saw no racial bias in the settlement program, apologized on Wednesday for his previous stance, saying he was "sorry for the pain this episode has caused Black former players and their families."
Reid, a free agent, has long decried the NFL's racism.
He was notable for being the first player to kneel during NFL games, alongside then-teammate Colin Kaepernick, to protest
racial injustice and police violence
in the United States
. Reid and Kaepernick both settled collusion cases against the NFL in 2019, claiming they were blackballed because of their protests.