National, Local Experts to Discuss Race and Sports at UMKC Symposium

Virtual event offers CLE credit, or free for non-credit attendees

The UMKC School of Law and Athletics Department are co-sponsoring “The Arc of Race in Professional & Collegiate Sports,” a two-day virtual symposium featuring national and local experts.

Topics ranging from the hiring of coaches of color, to name-image-likeness deals, to race norming in the NFL’s brain-injury lawsuit’s claims settlement process will be covered during the Sept. 9-10 event.

The symposium is co-chaired by Brandon Martin, Ed.D., UMKC Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics; and Prof. Kenneth D. Ferguson, UMKC School of Law. Featured speakers will include:

  • Keith Harrison, Ed.D., chief academic officer, DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program, University of Central Florida
  • Ann McKee, M.D., neuropathologist and director of the Brain Banks for Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy and Framingham Heart Study
  • Jennifer Hunter, J.D., senior director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Portland Trail Blazers
  • Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D. professor in the UMKC School of Medicine and director, UMKC Health Equity Institute
  • Tracie Canada, Ph.D. assistant professor of anthropology, Duke University
  • Vincent Key, head team physician for the Kansas City Royals and president of the Major League Baseball Team Physicians Association
  • Meg Gibson, M.D., head team physician, UMKC Athletics
  • Mikah Thompson, J.D., associate dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, UMKC School of Law
  • Deron Cherry, retired Kansas City Chief, president of United Beverage Company and a commissioner for the Jackson County Sports Authority

The symposium offers up to 12.6 hours Elimination of Bias Missouri Continuing Legal Education credit. Fee is $100 for those seeking CLE credits; attendance is free to all others. To register, go to

The opening session on Sept. 9 will focus on “Race Norming and Sports Concussion Litigation including NFL Concussion Settlement and Claims Process.” The initial settlement by the NFL for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) injuries implemented a formula (i.e., race-norming) that discriminated against Black retired players. In effect, Black players were treated as having worse cognitive functioning than white players (in their pre-morbid stage). As a result, if a Black player and a white player received the exact same score on a battery of neurocognitive tests, the Black player was automatically assumed to have suffered less impairment. Two members of the panel for that session, attorneys J.R. Wyatt and Cy Smith, successfully sued the NFL to remove race-norming from the settlement.

Other discussion topics will include:

  • Will Race and Gender Affect which Student Athletes Profit from their Name, Image and Likeness?
  • The Intersection of Race and Gender in Professional Sports Hiring
  • The Intersection of Race and Gender in Mental Health of Professional and Collegiate Athletes
  • Race Norming in Medical Treatment and Clinical Diagnostics and its Impacts


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Published: Aug 25, 2022

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