The family of Junior Seau will not be allowed to address the crowd when the late San Diego Chargers linebacker is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month, according to the New York Times.
Seau’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL in 2013, but Seau’s 21-year-old daughter, Sydney, whom the family says the player had always wanted to introduce him at Canton, Ohio, says she wasn’t planning on mentioning the legal case.
“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 Seau 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.”
The Hall of Fame says the decision has nothing to do with the lawsuit, which followed Seau’s 2012 suicide and the subsequent determination by doctors that he had suffered from a traumatic brain injury brought on by hits to the head.
A Hall of Fame representative said that for the past couple of years only living inductees are introduced by a family member or other person they designate; deceased inductees have been introduced only by a video presentation.
“We’re not the NFL, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said David Baker, executive director of the 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.”
Seau’s video is five minutes long -- two minutes longer than those of the living inductees -- and focuses on his accomplishments on the field. It includes parts of an interview with Sydney Seau that took place before she said she understood she wouldn’t be speaking at the ceremony.
Gina Seau, Sydney’s mother and Junior’s ex-wife, said the family won’t fight the Hall on the matter and agrees that the focus should be on Seau’s accomplishments and his legacy.
“It’s already difficult enough as it is,” she said.