Copy
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
March 3, 2021
Dear Retired Players and Families,
 
It’s been a while since the last newsletter and so much is taking place right now that I barely know where to begin.  There’s a lot happening in both the Disability and Concussion Settlement spheres, and while the NFL has no shortage of treachery, I feel that the race-norming taking place in the Concussion Settlement climbs right to the top of their list of dirty deeds.  What I mean by race-norming, in case you’re just now getting up to speed on the issue is that neurological T-scores of Black retired players are being “demographically adjusted” under the premise that Blacks aren’t all that bright anyway.  This means that a white player and a black player can have identical T-scores, with the white player being approved and the black player being denied.  Talk about hypocrisy, considering their social justice pitch over the past season.

In case you missed it, here’s the link to the ABC investigative story on race-norming, and also the article published on their site, “Clinicians fear NFL's concussion settlement program protocols discriminate against Black players.” A class action lawsuit has been filed challenging the use of race-norming in deciding concussion claims. 

As noted in the ABC story, two former players have filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of using race as a factor in deciding claims.  Eddie Stone, one of the attorneys pursuing justice on behalf of these and other similarly situated players wrote an article for Advocacy for Fairness in Sports with some additional information on the subject.
 

BLACK BRAIN IS WORTH 1/3 OF A WHITE BRAIN: A RACIST SETTLEMENT?

Edward Stone
 

How can any message the NFL sends on social injustice be taken seriously when they endorse a policy in the Concussion Settlement that presumes African Americans are inferior to Caucasians?

A recent study done by a law firm indicates that 3.4 TIMES as many African American players might qualify for an award if race norming [the inclusion of race in score calculations for Level 1.5 and 2.0 claims] was removed from the Settlement.  According to an ABC News Report:

[A] neuropsychologist who has evaluated former NFL players ... recently re-scored the results of cognitive tests from group of 94 Black former players. … When the clinician interpreted the test scores as if these former players had been white, 34 of them met the criteria to receive payouts… When the clinician applied the recommended demographic correction to those same scores, however only 10 of those same players qualified.” 

Continue reading
Recently players and their wives were invited by the law firms to participate in a Zoom call to learn more about the lawsuit and actions they can take to maximize exposure and increase the chances of success.  The list from the Zoom meeting follows, with my comments and elaboration added.
 
1. Informing former players through the Chapters
If you’re active in an alumni chapter please make sure that everyone is aware of what is taking place.  Make it a topic of discussion at a meeting or request a special meeting especially to discuss this alarming issue. 
2.  Writing to and appealing to Congress
Via Ken Belson at New York Times:
“Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Representative Yvette Clarke of New York and Representative Maxine Waters of California asked the N.F.L. to describe how these benchmarks were developed, what efforts were being used to reduce any “embedded biases in the data” and whether the measures were peer-reviewed or examined by independent experts.  The lawmakers also asked the league to provide documentation with its responses, as well as statistics on the race of applicants for dementia claims, including what percentage of Black applicants had their dementia claims denied compared with white players.“

As of yet the NFL/Claims Administrator have refused to supply the data to both Congress and ABC News, which also requested it.  It’s important to contact these senators and representatives as well as those representing your state and district to keep this inquiry active.  When you contact members of Congress, be sure to share any of your own experiences as well as requesting that hearings are held just as they were in 2007 prompted by massive NFL denials of disability claims.
3.  Social Media campaigns
Social media can be a very powerful tool.  Please use any social media that you participate in to call attention to race-norming in the settlement.  Since I’m a Twitter-girl, I’d be happy to coordinate on that platform, helping to create and direct targeted tweets.  For example, a couple of weeks ago, I targeted a tweet to Vice President Harris, quoting one of her tweets.
I followed it with links to additional information.  While it’s unlikely that one tweet from a single person she’s never heard of would be enough to draw her attention, if a targeted tweet was sent to her or members of Congress and other people that we’d like to reach and then 100 former players/wives re-tweeted, adding their own thoughts or experience, that would almost cause them to do a double-take,  and hopefully spur them to action.  Please reply to this newsletter with your Twitter handle if you are on Twitter and willing to help and I will get back to you so that we can get a “Twitter Brigade” rolling.

 
4.  Writing Letters to NFL Owners and to DeMaurice Smith
While Smith seems unlikely to be swayed perhaps an owner will find a shred of humanity and take a stand against this, but even if they don’t, the letters will at least force them to think about it and provide a written record of pleas to do the right thing.

The letters may also be useful at some point down the line in the litigation, but copying via email or sending hard-copy letters directly to the attorneys would likely be overwhelming considering their workload.  I’ve agreed to create an archive of these letters that will be readily accessible to the lawyers, should they need them if you’d be kind enough to copy me via email at defendersheilla@gmail.com.
 
5.  Willing to Speak to Members of the Press and Sharing Your Stories
I can’t over emphasize how important this is!  We finally have media’s attention and some momentum, but we need to keep this in the public eye, because out of sight is out of mind for most of the public.  We need to create a sense of outrage that will make the NFL look back at the Ray Rice scandal as the “good old days.”  We need players and wives.  We need black players and wives to share what it’s like to be subjected to this kind of racism by the people whose fortunes you helped to build and put your trust in.  We need white players and wives to speak up for their NFL brothers and say in no uncertain terms, this is not acceptable.  While the NFL makes a joke of their pitch, “Football is Family,” make it a reality for alumni in an all for one and one for all spirit of unity among the Retired NFL Community.  Let them know that you won’t take this lying down.  There is strength in numbers  Retaliation seems unlikely while they are under the microscope with a spotlight on their already bad behavior, and if they should make that mistake, we have the ability now, to expose them and show them that the old tricks will not work anymore.

If you are willing to let your voice be heard, please email both Amy Lewis (whole.health.associates@gmail.com), who is coordinating volunteers for the attorneys, and me (defendersheilla@gmail.com), as I often have media approach me to connect them with retired players whose situation is applicable to the story they’re working on.
 
6.  Sign and Circulate the Petition

STOP RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN THE NFL CONCUSSION SETTLEMENT

Dear Judge Brody, United States District Court, Pennsylvania; Roger Goodell, NFL; DeMaurice Smith, NFL Players Association-

We are writing to request that the NFL Concussion Settlement disability assessments immediately stop using RACE as a "recommended" factor in determining baseline cognitive function, specifically scaling black and brown players as having "lower cognitive function" to start, therefore having a harder time than their white NFL counterparts meeting the requirements for disability.  It is disgusting and racist at its foundation, and used to deny more claims from black players (70% of all players).  Physicians have stated on the record that they are pressured to use this racist scale...  Continue reading and sign the petition

NFL WIVES FOR CHANGE
 
ATTENTION LADIES:

If you would like to be a part of the NFL Wives for Change Movement and collectively show the NFL what a force of nature NFL wives really are, please email Roxy Gordon (roxanne_mccray@msn.com) and let her know you’re interested and she will put you on a contact list for projects the ladies are undertaking.
I realize this is a long newsletter.  If you made it to the end, THANK YOU!  I just didn’t see anything on the race-norming issue that I felt I should omit.  I’ll cover developments in the NFL Disability situation in our next newsletter, but before I close, I feel that I should address the reason for my absence over the last few months.  Unfortunately, I can’t go into detail but I was engaged in a deep research project and I’ve turned my work over to some key people who can leverage it against the NFL for the good of retired players and their families.  I’ll simply say that I’ve been working behind busily behind the scenes and leave it at that.

On a personal note, about the time I completed my research, I lost two relatives to COVID-19, and shortly after that, a close friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away within the span of a month.  Then my dog,  my constant companion and like a child to me was diagnosed with Lymphoma.  She died about three weeks later. It took me a bit of time to wrap my head around everything and regain my bearings, but now I’m back, I’m pissed and ready to fight another day.

Unfortunately, during my period of invisibility, Advocacy for Fairness in Sports’ bills continued to come in and the coffers are now depleted.  I’ve trimmed expenses down to the bare minimum but need continued access to Pacer/court documents, my legal research tools, and web hosting in order to do my work.  If you can spare a few dollars, I’d really appreciate your tax-deductible donations that will enable me to continue.
donate
Best regards,

Sheilla






This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Advocacy for Fairness in Sports · 943 E Main Blvd · Church Hill, TN 37642 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp