Junior Seau’s family won’t be allowed to speak at his HoF induction


Junior Seau’s family wont be allowed to speak at his HOF induction ceremony, and it’s a travesty.

Seau, linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, was a defining player of our generation. He revolutionized the game with his transcendent style both on and off the field. He was an exceptional teammate and player, and left nothing to doubt that he would one day be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. Unfortunately, Seau would commit suicide in May of 2012 and never experience the excitement of that phone call.

He told his family that if he were ever immortalized in bronze in Canton, he would want his daughter, Sydney, to give his induction speech. With the induction ceremony set for August 8th, it seems that Sydney’s speech will never be heard.

According to the Hall of Fame, a policy change in recent years called for the elimination of speeches for a deceased player. Instead, patrons would view a video, slightly longer than videos played of living players, and the customary bronze bust of the player would be revealed. NFL Network would put the videos for these players together.

"HoF spokesman Joe Horrigan told the New York Times, “There was an acceptance speech for deceased players, but it got redundant. The honor is supposed to be for the individual.”"

Redundant? It seems by taking away the only personal reflection given during such a prestigious moment for a player would make things more redundant than skipping right to the revelation of their honorary statue.

"HoF executive director David Baker had this to say in regards to the opportunity for Sydney to give a speech on behalf of Seau. “We’re not the NFL, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Our mission is to honor the heroes of the game and Junior is a hero of the game. We’re going to celebrate his life, not the death and other issues.”"

Those other issues he is referring too, is the pending lawsuit Seau’s family filed against the NFL after they declined to take any part of the $4 million settlement offered under the proposed concussion settlement. The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit with aim to have the NFL take some accountability for his death.

Currently there is no precedent for this policy, but it’s obvious it was not well though out. Most recently, in 2011, linebacker Les Richter of the L.A. Rams was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Nobody spoke on his behalf. However, as recent as 2006, when the late Reggie White was inducted, his wife Sara gave a speech on his life and the game.

Jan 31, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Tyler Seau represents his late father Junior Seau (not pictured) during a press conference to introduce the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL and the Hall of Fame are two separate entities, but obviously work very closely with one another. The NFL can and should play the big brother role here and persuade the folks in Canton to change or update their policy. The NFL has a chance to score some major points with fans again after recent missteps in handling off-field issues. It’s a shame that policy, lawsuits and the tragic fact that Seau decided to take his own life should get in the way of the celebration of such an exceptional player.

The family of Seau was noted as saying they are frustrated with the policy put in place at the Hall of Fame and find it “painful” to not be able to speak. One can only imagine the emotional hardship this family is experiencing not only with the ridiculous policy of the HoF, but also the tremendous heartache of the loss of a family member.

We have been presented with a moment in time that will live forever. An opportunity has presented itself for a tremendous amount of healing for the family and goodwill on behalf of the Hof and the NFL. Hopefully, the HoF will come to their senses and realize how ridiculous their policy is and Syndey will be able to tell the amazing story of her father. A story that will surely be embraced.