Peter (from Long Island) writes in a comment:
If the situation were reversed, and it were Africans who had Neanderthal genes, would the Times be so willing to report the story? Given the popular perception of Neanderthals as dumb and brutish, my suspicion is that the editors would agonize long and hard over running the story.
I think that Peter is correct about why the story was able to be published. The perception would be that this makes blacks seem more human and less primitive than whites and Asians.
However, the real story is more complicated than that. Neanderthals had larger cranial capacity than Homo sapiens, and archeological evidence shows that Neanderthals were, in the past, more advanced than Homo sapiens. Neanderthals were the first race to bury their dead, and had more advanced stone tools. Neanderthals were more advanced 100,000 years ago when Homo sapiens first moved out of Africa. It was only during the next 55,000 years that Homo sapiens caught up.
Neither race was what we would consider to be civilized during the time of their coexistence. The first evidence of agriculture didn't begin until around approximately 10,000 years after the extinction of Neanderthals or around 12,000 years ago, and the first evidence of writing dates back only 5,000 years.
Neanderthals may very well have been more intelligent than Homo sapiens (during the time of their coexistence), but became extinct because of anatomical inferiority rather than mental inferiority.