William & Mary Business Law Review
Tackling Discrimination in the NFL: How the Recent CTE Race-Norming Agreement Highlights the Need to Provide Broader Anti-Discrimination Protections for NFL Players Through Collective Bargaining Agreements
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is becoming a commonly known consequence of playing football. Many have become stunned at the effects of CTE among some of the National Football League’s (NFL) most popular players. While the NFL agreed to compensate players who have suffered the effects of CTE, they did not do so fairly. The NFL employed practices of racial-baselining cognitive brain evaluations to systemically provide Black players with lower CTE settlement payouts than their white counterparts. Though shocking, this is but one instance of the NFL discriminating against their players of color in a majority-minority league. However, settling out of court has enabled the NFL to sweep many of these controversies under the rug and enables racism to persist in this twelve billion-dollar industry. Presently, in the Black Lives Matter Era, the NFL is well positioned to disrupt this cycle and afford players more protections against discrimination. This Note suggests an addendum or revision to the present NFL and NFL Players Association collective bargaining agreement that would broaden the present language of the anti-discrimination clause. This would provide players of color both proactive protections and more remedies to recover from future instances of discrimination through a contractual remedy.