New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz hasn’t played a professional football game since 2014, when he suffered an excruciating knee injury whilst playing against the Philadelphia Eagles and had to be carted off the field.
He recovered last year but got hurt again in training camp and had to miss an entire season.
But Cruz has been keeping himself busy. He has his own clothing line in “Young Whales,” he has collaborated with Nike to release a sneaker, there’s the Victor Cruz charitable foundation he founded in 2012, plus he has a huge social media following where he keeps fans updated with his progress.
Last week, Cruz was also at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, speaking on a panel hosted by WME and IMG about how athletes can build their own personal brands.
We caught up with Cruz after the festival to find out how his recovery is going, how he handles his social media accounts — and the endless requests for selfies — and to get an idea of the brands he’d love to work with.
Lara O’Reilly: When can we expect to see you back on the field?
Victor Cruz: You should expect to see me back on the field at the start of training camp in July and definitely on opening day against the Cowboys.
O’Reilly: How do you keep your morale up whilst not being able to play? What are your tips for dealing with injury?
Cruz: I keep my morale up by staying close with my family and keeping a positive mindset as well as positive people around me.
I also recognise the hard work and dedication that it takes to make it through my injuries and come out of the other end at full force.
The tips I have for dealing with injuries are to remain diligent in the rehab process and keep your faith strong.
O’Reilly: At Cannes you said “a retweet is as good as an autograph these days?” Do you really mean that? And what’s your take on selfies? Does that bog you down, being asked to appear on people’s Snapchat Stories all the time?
Cruz: I do really mean that a retweet is as good as an autograph because in this day and age, social media has become such a personal platform where people can feel connected to you. So when you acknowledge their presence, they get the same feeling as if you stopped to give them an autograph in person. I love selfies, they don’t bog me down at all. I’m all for providing a social experience to my supporters.
O’Reilly: You’ve got a big social media presence. How much is you versus your team? How do you organise that?
Cruz: My social media is all me. I make and manage my own posts. I like to be as authentic as possible through my social media, so that my fan base truly knows my voice.
O’Reilly: You also mentioned at Cannes that with the Nike Air Cruz, you’d stop by stores to talk to salespeople to see how the shoe was doing. Do you still do this kind of mystery shopping with other products you work on?
Cruz: Yes, I absolutely stop by stores to talk to salespeople with every project that I am involved in. I like to gage the response of the consumer or the fan that is inquiring on something I created. Whether it be in fashion or in sports.
O’Reilly: Which other brands are you passionate about that you’d like to work with?
Cruz: I would love to work with any fashion house that shares the same vision and passions that I have. I feel as though the best partnerships are ones that are organic and come from a collaborative, positive mindset that result in great work for all parties.
Brands like Stampd, Dior, Vuitton, and continuing to develop my relationship with Nike are some examples.
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