Charlie Strong’s word choice when complimenting Central Florida defensive star Shaq Griffin didn’t go over too well with the linebacker.
Griffin was born with a birth defect that caused his left hand to not fully form. He had surgery as a young child to have his left hand completely removed.
The one-handed linebacker has developed into one of the best defensive players in the country as UCF is undefeated. The Knights play rival South Florida on Saturday, and South Florida coach Charlie Strong praised Griffin during his press conference Tuesday.
“He’s always moving and he plays with so much passion and he’s hard to block and he’s going to cause a lot of problems for us– which he’s caused problems for everyone,” Strong said. “And he has a handicap and he does not allow that to stop him from doing what he needs to do which is really special about him.”
After seeing Strong’s quote on Twitter, Griffin tweeted this.
It's not a handicap https://t.co/4oHPrqfRQf
— shaquem griffin (@Shaquemgriffin) November 21, 2017
It’s understandable that Griffin didn’t appreciate Strong’s choice of words. However, it’s pretty clear that Strong was praising Griffin in his comment and didn’t mean any harm. Could he have used a more appropriate descriptor? Absolutely. But watch the video for yourself.
Did Charlie Strong use the wrong term when discussing Shaquem Griffin? Yes. But the context was complimentary, not harmful. pic.twitter.com/GFZnhkRV4E
— Ryan Bass (@Ry_Bass) November 21, 2017
Griffin has 47 tackles, three sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and an interception this season. He was the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year in 2016,
The Friday game between the two directional Florida schools is a battle for the AAC East Division. The winner heads to the AAC title game and, with a win there, will likely be the Group of Five team that gets to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game.
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