The Pro Football Hall of Fame has decided to allow Junior Seau’s daughter to speak at the induction ceremony next Saturday in Canton, Ohio.
Sydney Seau has been invited to talk during an interview after the unveiling of her late father’s Hall of Fame bust, FOX Sports reported Saturday. Sydney and her three brothers have been asked to unveil the bust.
A policy established in 2010 by the Hall of Fame limits the ceremony for deceased inductees to a video tribute. The Hall will adhere to that rule, with Sydney’s speech taped. But the Hall also will play a longer highlight video of Seau’s career, including comments from Sydney, FOX Sports reported.
Sydney also will participate in the “Gold Jacket” ceremony Thursday and be given a forum to speak on NFL Network.
The Hall’s concession comes after an outcry by fans and media who complained that the Hall was attempting to keep Sydney from speaking about the circumstances surrounding her father’s death. Junior Seau committed suicide in 2012, and his family has argued that repeated concussions during his 20-year career played a role. The family filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL in 2013.
The Hall of Fame told the New York Times last week that its focus was on honoring former stars.
“Junior is a hero of the game,” said David Baker, executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “We’re going to celebrate his life, not the death and other issues.”
Sydney Seau told the Times she intended only to give the speech her father would have, not delve into the issues and circumstances surrounding his suicide.
Junior Seau was an eight-time All-Pro and 12-time Pro Bowl player with the San Diego Chargers (1990-2002). He also played with the Miami Dolphins (2003-05) and New England Patriots (2006-09). He was named to the all-decade team of the 1990s.