Former Packer Brings Racial Discrimination Class Action Against NFL

Najeh Davenport, a former Green Bay Packers running back, and Kevin Henry, a former Pittsburgh Steeler, are the lead plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in concussion settlements paid out by the National Football League.

The NFL had a 2014 settlement agreement with players that paid out players who had suffered head trauma. Specifically, to receive a settlement payment, and determine the amount, a player must be evaluated for a “Qualifying Diagnoses of Neurocognitive Impairment.” The suit alleges that this process discriminates against Black players by assuming a lower cognitive starting point for Black players than for white players through a process called “race-norming.” In short, Black former players are assumed to have started with worse cognitive functioning than White former players, making Black former players less likely to qualify for compensation.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.