Shaquem Griffin is the American Dream personified.
The 23-year-old was born with amniotic band syndrome, as his mom’s amniotic sac entangled his wrist whereas creating within the womb. Consequently, he was born with an underdeveloped hand, which his dad and mom formally had amputated when Griffin was simply four years previous as a result of excruciating ache.
Rising up with one hand might have been a hindrance for a lot of, however the Griffin household isn’t one for excuses. His father, Terry Griffin, continually inspired and skilled Shaquem and twin brother, Shaquill, in preparation for the profession path they each so desperately needed. In the present day, the equivalent pair play for the Seattle Seahawks, with Shaquem in his rookie yr after an unimaginable displaying on the 2018 NFL Scouting Mix.
Right here, the Griffins chat with EBONY about their new partnership with Gillette, who’s quick movie chronicles the dedication, laborious work and perseverance it takes to perform any dream underneath any circumstance.
How did you two come to associate with Gillette for this marketing campaign?
Shaquem Griffin: We needed to be a part of a model that showcases who we’re, and I really feel Gillette is an amazing model to be with with regards to sharing my story and present folks precisely the place we got here from. You don’t need to be part of one thing that’s not displaying who you actually are, and I believe Gillette does a tremendous job of showcasing that. It undoubtedly exhibits that nothing comes straightforward, and that video nonetheless provides me chills once I watch it immediately. It actually takes me again.
The quick movie is very highly effective. What had been a few of your favourite moments whereas filming?
SG: One in all my favourite components is once we had been out within the yard understanding. Once I noticed that half, it form of made me get drained once more [laughs]. I bear in mind these days. Being in that yard, making an attempt to get that work in, there have been days if you simply didn’t need to do it. However, I believe that was really a spotlight of my life as a result of we had been again there each single day.
Terry Griffin: Getting the possibility to work with any person else’s twins, oh man! My spouse mentioned I used to be having flashbacks [laughs]. I want you would have seen these youngsters faces, they requested my boys, ‘so, you guys actually did all this?’ All of us mentioned, ‘yeah!’” It was nice.
Shaquem, What was the harshest criticism you acquired as an aspiring athlete with one hand? You clearly by no means misplaced your motivation, however what had been among the extra biting issues haters used to let you know?
SG: Primarily, they only tried to inform me what I couldn’t do. Once they ask you, ‘what do you need to be,’ and I mentioned a soccer participant, folks at all times mentioned to be extra real looking. So far as I’m involved, I used to be being real looking! I’m going to be within the NFL, that’s going to be my occupation. I used to be continually advised it’s not potential, that I wanted to surrender this soccer dream. Folks advised me I’d be capable to get by taking part in highschool soccer, however not school. I simply needed to take it upon myself to point out folks what I may actually do.
Terry, What would you say is an important factor a father or mother can do to maintain their kids’s desires alive and hold their psychological state constructive?
TG: Push. Continuously push, and be proper there with them. What you see now is a number of dad and mom making an attempt to be pals and never dad and mom. It’s about mentioning your youngsters proper and going again to the previous beliefs, you realize? Respect your elders. While you see your neighbor getting groceries out of the automotive, you cease what you’re doing and go assist. That’s the best way I used to be raised, so I attempted to instill that in them.
Shaquem, you lately performed your first official NFL recreation, changing into the primary participant to compete on this degree with one hand. Are you able to stroll us by the feelings of getting within the recreation for the primary time as a professional?
SG: Nervousness. Plenty of anxiousness. There was rather a lot going by my head that recreation, however I’ve been in a position to form of calm myself down since then. Our first run had me feeling like I actually couldn’t breathe as a result of I used to be so anxious. However to have the chance to be on the market after being by the whole lot I’ve, it was loopy. My coronary heart was stuffed with a lot emotion. Even whereas I used to be strolling out on the sector, I used to be getting goosebumps. Now that my physique is changing into extra accustomed to those new environment, it’s getting higher, however even individuals who’ve been taking part in for years nonetheless get the butterflies of their abdomen.
Terry, how was it for you watching Shaquem play his first recreation, after which seeing each of your sons on the sector collectively on the identical workforce?
TG: Truthfully, it actually hasn’t hit us but. I discovered myself a few month in the past asking my spouse that very same query, like, ‘how are we purported to really feel about all of this?’ I don’t know if we’re purported to be leaping off the wall or break dancing, I don’t know, it simply hasn’t hit but. When it hits, we’ll let you realize [laughs]!
Honest sufficient! Shaquem, what would you say is the perfect piece of recommendation you’ve acquired from any of your friends to this point?
SG: Ok.J. [Wright] and Bobby [Wagner] do a very good job of encouraging me and staying on prime of me, ensuring I are available early, that I watch all of the movies and examine the performs. Typically, we’ll examine follow tapes collectively and KJ will pull me to the aspect and say, ‘okay, so what would you do on this state of affairs? How do you fill on this hole?’ It’s not a single piece of recommendation, however they’re serving to me get acclimated to the method. Even with regards to wins and losses, they do an excellent job of making an attempt to show me the way to take all of it. You’ll be able to’t take into consideration losses for too lengthy, you could have 24 hours to consider it, stay with it, after which neglect it as a result of we’re at all times on to the following recreation. While you study from guys like that, it improves your recreation.
You had been additionally featured within the new Nike marketing campaign narrated by Colin Kaepernick. They highlighted Serena, LeBron, your self and others. How did you develop into concerned?
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 5, 2018
SG: They reached out and organized the whole lot. I really didn’t know who would all be concerned, they only advised me what my a part of the marketing campaign can be. If Nike calls you and asks you to be part of one thing, you’re not going to say “no” to it. Nike did a tremendous job, and I’m comfortable I used to be in a position to be part of that second. Belief, I used to be comfortable to get that cellphone name [laughs].
Talking of Kaepernick, do the Seahawks encourage gamers to make use of that platform to share and specific their beliefs outdoors of sports activities or to carry consciousness to social causes?
SG: I’ve by no means heard them discourage anybody, however I’m additionally a rookie. I don’t assume I’ve a large enough voice but. Even at follow, if I need to speak trash, Bobby and Ok.J. inform me to be quiet and so they’ll deal with the trash speaking for me [laughs]. I nonetheless should put some work in to construct my platform to a degree the place I can do extra, however proper now I’m simply targeted on being an excellent teammate and an amazing participant.