The Pro Football Hall of Fame is not allowing the family of deceased linebacker Junior Seau speak on his behalf at the induction ceremony on August 8 in Canton, Ohio, and — despite an earlier report to the contrary — the family is not happy about it.
Seau’s wish was that his daughter, Sydney, would speak for him upon his induction. But the Hall is falling back on a process they instituted back in 2010, shortening the ceremony by not allowing a formal speaker for deceased inductees.
Steve Strauss, legal counsel to the Seau family and partner at Cooley LLP, issued a statement on the family’s behalf — and it’s clear they are not thrilled with how things stand:
“The Seau family appreciates the overwhelming support for Sydney Seau to be able to accept Junior’s induction into the Hall of Fame live and in her own words. Unfortunately, the Hall of Fame is unwilling to reverse its decision despite communicating to the family earlier this year that Sydney would be able to speak at the ceremony. Contrary to the most recent statement by the Hall of Fame, the family does not support the current policy that prevents family members from delivering live remarks on behalf of deceased inductees. However, the Seau family does not want this issue to become a distraction to Junior’s accomplishments and legacy or those of the other inductees. The Seau family never intended to use the Hall of Fame as a platform to discuss the serious mental health issues facing the NFL today which are most appropriately addressed in a legal forum. The Seau family looks forward to celebrating Junior’s extraordinary accomplishments at the Hall of Fame.”
Although there might be future legal ramifications for issuing such a statement, the immediate point is clear: The Seau family is not happy after — Strauss alleges — the Hall said Sydney could speak on her father’s behalf and then reneging.
The NFL has botched this thing completely. All the league has done has drawn attention to the fact that Seau, who shot and killed himself, had CTE — likely the result of a concussion-addled NFL career. Had they allowed Sydney to speak, thus eliminating a dumb rule in the first place, none of this would have been taken this far.
Once more: Good job, good effort, NFL.
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