Junior Seau will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in a couple of weeks, and it was his wish to have his daughter Sydney be the one to speak on his behalf during the ceremony. Now, the Hall of Fame has said that nobody will be allowed to speak for Seau.
Junior Seau’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was always going to be awkward, a chance to celebrate a marquee player known for his bone-crushing career while not dwelling on his controversial death tied to it.
When his induction was announced at the Super Bowl, his family rejoiced and started thinking about what to say at the ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 8. Seau had told them if he ever made it, he wanted his daughter, Sydney, to introduce him.
Junior Seau, at his retirement announcement in 2006, had a degenerative brain disease widely connected to athletes who have absorbed frequent blows to the head.Junior Seau Had Brain DiseaseJAN. 10, 2013
Junior Seau of the San Diego Chargers in 2002.Junior Seau, Famed N.F.L. Linebacker, Dies at 43; Suicide Is SuspectedMAY 2, 2012
But the Hall of Fame does not plan to let Sydney or anyone else speak on his behalf. Instead, it will only show a video that will commemorate his career, while avoiding questions about his suicide in 2012 and the subsequent diagnosis of traumatic brain injury that doctors said they believed was brought on by hits to his head. Nor will the video mention the lawsuit that Seau’s family has filed against the N.F.L., which is trying to curb injuries in active players and address brain disease in thousands of retired ones.
“It’s frustrating because the induction is for my father and for the other players, but then to not be able to speak, it’s painful,” Sydney said. “I just want to give the speech he would have given. It wasn’t going to be about this mess. My speech was solely about him.”
This is terrible news and another blow to the image of the league.