Via America’s Lawyer: Former NFL players sue the league over racial discrimination in its concussion settlement protocol which makes it harder for black players to prove cognitive decline. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             A new report says that the NFL concussion settlement is discriminating against black NFL players. Wow. You talk about a subtle kind of discrimination that’s costing these folks money. Let me, first of all, a dear, a very good friend of mine, a lawyer named Chris Seeger put this settlement together. He did not include in the settlement anything about what the NFL is doing here. Take it from there.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. The NFL had set up all these criteria, you know, to test, do you really have CTE? Did you have enough concussions to impair your life? And if you did sure, you get the money, but what we found out now through this ABC investigation of all places, I was shocked they did this.

Mike Papantonio:             Oh, me too.

Farron Cousins:                  But I’m glad they did. They found that you’ve got black, former NFL athletes saying we’re being denied because even though we show cognitive impairment, they’re saying, well, because you’re black or because you grew up in this area, you were going to have cognitive impairment anyway. So you don’t meet the criteria to get a settlement from this. It, it’s obscene.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. They call it demographic correction. That’s the word, demographic correction. All it is is racism.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             An African-American athlete presents and they say, well, we have to take a few IQ points off of you already. We have to have this cognitive disconnect already because you’re African-American and you’re say you have a concussion. It’s really not a concussion. You’re really not having any of these cognitive problems relating to the concussion, all your years on the field. It all relates to the fact that you’re African-American. This is a really ugly story. Now this has been created by the NFL.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s not in the document that was the settlement. The NFL are the people saying, well, we can keep, we can save a lot of money by arguing, well, of course they have cognitive disabilities because they’re African-American, that’s literally what they are saying here, you understand.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. And that’s, you know, this, this whole settlement has been plagued because the NFL has been plaguing it from the beginning. They, they have tried to stall it. They have tried to stop it. They have tried to claim massive amounts of fraud. I believe at one point they were trying to go after Chris Seeger a little bit as well.

Mike Papantonio:             They were, yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  And, you know, nothing stuck because there was nothing actually there. This was just the NFL trying to, you know, stop all this money from going out the door and this is another part of it. They’re just trying a new tactic here. What if we go with, well you’re African-American so you’re probably not as smart as a white person anyway, that’s the bottom line of what they’re doing here.

Mike Papantonio:             That’s exactly what they’re doing. I mean, you, you put into words exactly what they’re doing to these athletes. Most of these, a lot of these athletes, man, they were on the frontline for years just getting pounded, pounded. And they’re saying, yeah, we see some cognitive disability here, but it doesn’t have anything to do with you playing, getting your head smashed for, for, for eight years playing in the NFL. It’s a, really an ugly story.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.