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Published on August 13, 2011 12:12 PM by dbo.
I remember Bernie Custis being mentioned in an article about the history of the African-American quarterback but I had no idea he was still alive and living in Canada.
As for the shots at the CFL and Canada for not recognizing Custis, there is penchant for celebrating first achievements, especially those involving colour barriers, that occurred in Canada to boost our collective ego. Custis’ achievement should be honoured and held as an example to others who face the obstacles of prejudice and oppression. That it took until the 1950’s for Custis to break the QB colour barrier and he was treated as he was is not a time to be proud of for our country. Why did it take so long? Who stood up for the rights of all players? Sure, a different time, but our country is not as wonderful as we like to believe on the issue of civil rights.
Thank you, Bernie Custis, for your example and bravery in the face of prejudice and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Steve Milton for teaching Canadians about this piece of history. For the rest of us it is a time to examine our own stereotypes and bigotries that we hold and choose to examine people by what they do, not by their race or colour of skin.