Ever since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, people around the world have banded together in protest.
While many in the black community on both sides of the border have called for a complete restructuring of the police system, Brandon Bridge is in the process of becoming a Peel Region police officer.
The Canadian quarterback, who spent time with Montreal, Saskatchewan, Toronto, and B.C., explained his decision through writing on Monday. It was a heartfelt piece in The Park Journal, a first-person story platform for athletes.
Bridge states he didn’t experience overt racism while growing up in Mississauga, but was quickly exposed to a new perspective while playing college football for the University of South Alabama. There he felt treated differently until people learned of his status as a football player.
During his time in the CFL, Bridge felt pressure to perform as both a Canadian quarterback and a black Canadian quarterback. Ultimately, he decided to retire because he “wasn’t going to let a league that doesn’t respect its Canadian quarterback’s dictate [his] life.”
Bridge has long had a strong relationship with local law enforcement. He played on the Peel police basketball team for charity tournaments, had friends on the force, and his minor football coach and childhood mentor was veteran staff superintendent Sean McKenna.
Bridge feels the badge has been tarnished by murderers who were wearing the uniform, but believes the “letter of the law”, when properly executed, can include the black community. By joining the Peel police, he wants to be a force for positive change.
According to Bridge:
“I am becoming a Peel Police Officer because it makes me a better me. I enjoy helping the public. I will set a good example in my community. You either get right or you get left. I’m going to change the perception of the department.”
That’s an extremely tall order, but Bridge is undaunted.
“I’ve been trailblazing all my life.”
Best of luck to Bridge.