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Mon, 06.12.2023

Jeffrey Orridge, Businessman born

*The birth of Jeffrey Orridge is celebrated on this date in 1960. He is a Black lawyer and businessman.

Jeffrey Lyndon Orridge is a New York native. His mother was a registered nurse and social worker; 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. 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.

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. 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 and joined Reebok International. In the mid to late 1990s, he became global sports marketing director for Reebok International and was a sports licensing director for Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

He also served as senior vice president and general manager for Momentum Worldwide in the early 2000s and as chief marketing officer for OneNetNow. He has served as vice president of worldwide licensing and entertainment and new business development for Mattel Inc. In 2007, he was named chief operating officer at Right to Play in Canada. This organization focused on using sports and play for development with children in impoverished countries until 2011. In April 2011, Orridge became executive director of CBC Sports Properties. 

Orridge also served as general manager for the Olympics on CBC. In March 2015, Orridge became the first Black chief executive of a major North American sports league when he became the 13th commissioner of the Canadian Football League (CFL).  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. At the time, there was a $200 million class-action lawsuit in Canada’s courts for CFL players seeking monetary compensation for CTE.

A document released by the British Journal of Sports Medicine in April 2017 discussing the treatment of concussions stated: “There’s still no scientific evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between concussions and degenerative problems.” In April 2017, due to philosophical differences between Orridge and the board of governors over the future of the CFL, Orridge stepped down from his position as commissioner of the CFL, effective June 30, 2017. On November 30, 2020, he was appointed chief executive officer of T.V. Ontario, the provincial educational television network.

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