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Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL on Wednesday pledged to halt its decades-old use of "race-norming" — a practice that assumes Black players have a lower baseline level of cognition — in its near-billion-dollar concussion settlement, AP reports.

Why it matters: The use of  "race-norming" meant that Black players had to show a larger cognitive decline to qualify for the settlement. The NFL said Wednesday that it will also review previous scores for potential race bias.

  • The announcement comes after two Black players filed a civil rights lawsuit and a group of NFL families filed 50,000 petitions at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia, per AP.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Jeff Tracy: Wednesday's announcement is such an important and overdue win. The next step is not only ensuring future claimants are treated equally, but that past ones who've been denied claims because of their skin color can have those decisions reviewed, and perhaps reversed.

Catch up quick: In 2013, the NFL agreed to a $765 million settlement after facing a flood of lawsuits from retired players who alleged the league concealed what it knew about the dangers of repeated head trauma.

  • The $765 million cap has since been removed, and more than $856 million has been awarded to 1,263 retired players as of May 21.
  • Those who claim their careers led to dementia or similar cognitive diseases are required to undergo medical testing to determine if they are eligible for compensation.
  • Though the NFL has said race-norming was never mandated, the organization did appeal some Black players' claims if their scores were not adjusted for race.
  • Worth noting: Medical experts have protested the practice.

What they're saying: The NFL has formed a panel of neuropsychologists to formulate a new testing protocol, according to the organization. The panel includes three Black doctors, per AP.

  • "The replacement norms will be applied prospectively and retrospectively for those players who otherwise would have qualified for an award but for the application of race-based norms," the NFL said in a statement issued to AP.

Go deeper

Sep 8, 2021 - Sports

Three retired NFL players plead guilty to health care fraud scheme

Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis during a game at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on Sept. 4, 2008. Photo: Getty Images

Three retired NFL players pleaded guilty to numerous fraud charges related to a nationwide health care fraud scheme, bringing the total number of retired athletes who have pleaded guilty to 15, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

Driving the news: The three defendants admitted to defrauding the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan. The fund, created in 2006, gives tax-free reimbursements of up up to $350,000 per player for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Updated 4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.