Jeffrey Orridge

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Jeffrey Orridge
Jeffrey L. Orridge.jpg
Orridge during first year as CFL Commissioner
Born Jeffrey Lyndon Orridge[1]
1960 (age 57–58)
New York City, New York
Nationality American-Canadian[1]
Known for Commissioner of the Canadian Football League
Executive Director of CBC Sports
General Counsel, USA Basketball

Jeffrey Lyndon Orridge (born c. 1960) was the 13th Commissioner of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was the first African-American chief executive of a major North American sports league.[2] Previously, Orridge served as COO of Right to Play and executive director of CBC Sports Properties.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Orridge is a New York native. His mother was a registered nurse and social worker and his father worked for the New York City Transit Authority. Orridge participated in track and field and played basketball in school until he tore his ACL.[4] He graduated from the Collegiate School (New York City). He earned a psychology degree from Amherst College in 1982, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1986.[3]


After graduating from law school, Orridge joined the corporate law firm Rogers & Wells before becoming executive director of Home Attendant Corp. at North General Hospital.[citation needed] In 1991, he became head of business and legal affairs at USA Basketball, the governing body for the Olympic sport. He was the organization's first in-house attorney. He left the organization in 1994[5][4] and joined Reebok International. In the mid to late 1990s, he became global sports marketing director for Reebok International,[6][7] and was sports licensing director for Warner Bros. Consumer Products.[6] He also served as senior vice president and general manager for Momentum Worldwide and in the early 2000s, and as chief marketing officer for OneNetNow,[8] and has served as vice-president of worldwide licensing and entertainment and new business development for Mattel Inc.[9]

In 2007, he was named chief operating officer at Right to Play in Canada, an organization that focused on the use of sports and play for development with children in disadvantaged countries, until 2011.[4][3] In April 2011, Orridge became executive director of CBC Sports Properties.[3] Orridge also served as general manager for the Olympics on CBC.[4]

In March 2015, Orridge became the first African-American chief executive of a major North American sports league when he became the 13th commissioner of the Canadian Football League (CFL).[2] In April 2017, it was announced that due to philosophical differences between Orridge and the board of governors over the future of the CFL, Orridge would step down from his position as commissioner of the CFL, effective June 30, 2017.[10][11] His final day as CFL commissioner was June 15, 2017, with Jim Lawson taking over the Commissioner role on an interim basis.[12] He was succeeded by Randy Ambrosie as commissioner on July 5, 2017.[13]


In 2016, Orridge received media attention after saying there was no conclusive link between playing in the CFL and developing Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma.[14][15][16] At the time, there was a $200 million class-action lawsuit in Canada's courts on behalf of CFL players seeking monetary compensation for CTE.[17] A document released by the British Journal of Sport Medicine in April 2017 discussing treatment of concussions stated: "There's still no scientific evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between concussions and degenerative problems."[18]


  1. ^ a b "New CFL Commissioner Has a Page in Black Canadian History". Montreal Community Contact. 2015-04-15. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  2. ^ a b Rush, Curtis (17 March 2015). "CFL names Jeffrey Orridge as new commissioner". Toronto Star. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Orridge takes international experience to CBC". Sports Business Daily. April 25, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Four things to know about new CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge". The Star. March 17, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  5. ^ Leah Rothstein Garnett (January 1992). "Olympic Lawyers Behind the Scenes Let The Games". ABA Journal. 
  6. ^ a b Kirk Penton (March 17, 2015). "Commissioner Orridge tasked with taking CFL to 'next level'". Toronto Sun. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  7. ^ Kevin Seifert (August 2, 2016). "CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge wants a piece of American sports". ESPN. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  8. ^ "CFL Commissioner Honoured By African Canadian Community During Black History Month". Black Ottawa Scene. February 25, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Diversity still a challenge, says media executive". Share. August 22, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  10. ^ Dan Ralph (April 12, 2017). "Jeffrey Orridge to step down in June as the commissioner of the CFL". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  11. ^ Doug Harrison (April 12, 2017). "Jeffrey Orridge out as CFL commissioner after 2 years". CBC Sports. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  12. ^ "CFL issues statement as Orridge tenure closes". Canadian Football League. 15 June 2017. 
  13. ^ Gregory Strong (4 July 2017). "CFL hires former player Randy Ambrosie as commissioner". CBC Sports – via The Canadian Press. 
  14. ^ "What is CTE?". BU CTE Center. Archived from the original on July 1, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  15. ^ Bryan Armen Graham. "CFL commissioner refuses to admit link between football and brain disease CTE". The Guardian. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  16. ^ Bruce Arthur (November 25, 2016). "CFL sends wrong message on head injuries". The Star. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  17. ^ Gord Holder (January 30, 2016). "Two former Rough Riders, ex-Alouette join concussion lawsuit against CFL". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  18. ^ Allan Maki (April 26, 2017). "Prolonged rest actually harmful for those recovering from head injuries: report". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 12, 2017.