Internet Explodes Over Report That Junior Seau’s Family Is Barred From Speaking At His Hall Of Fame Induction
When you've got bad news, it's best to hope it drops on a summer Friday afternoon, when people aren't paying attention as much. Unfortunately for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the internet never sleeps, and so everyone is talking about the New York Times report that says Junior Seau's family won't be allowed to speak at Seau's induction ceremony.
The report says that due to ceremony length, the decision was made "a few years ago" to stop letting families speak for the deceased honorees -- a Hall-produced video on the player's career should be sufficient. Seau's case is complicated by a number of factors, not the least of which being that Seau committed suicide (possibly due to traumatic brain injuries sustained during his playing career) and his family his currently suing the NFL for wrongful death.
From the report:
To the Hall of Fame officials, simply showing the video, which will not invoke Seau’s suicide, will keep the focus on his playing days. To his family still grappling with his death, though, the tribute seems underwhelming for one of the sport’s best linebackers and a highly regarded figure in Southern California where Seau grew up and played most of his career.
“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.”
Seau’s widow, Gina, was “very surprised” by the Hall of Fame’s policy to use only a video because she did not “think Sydney or any of us were going to use the Hall of Fame as a platform.”
Horrigan said the Seaus were given incorrect information about the ceremony before the Hall of Fame formally notified them of its policy July 9, five months after they had learned Seau would be inducted.
But Gina Seau said she did not question the Hall of Fame’s motives, and in the end agreed the focus should be on Junior and his legacy.
“It’s already difficult enough as it is,” she said.
Seau's case is different than most other inductees not just because of the circumstances of his death but because of his immense popularity and impact. Even if Seau had not died under these unfortunate circumstances, there would still be an outcry for an exception to be made for his family to speak.
Though the NFL and the Hall are two separate institutions, people are likely going to conflate the two and end up blaming Roger Goodell for this. But there is plenty of legitimate outrage to be had already, and Twitter is letting the Hall have it:
Absolute B.S. by the Hall of Fame not to allow Seau family to speak. Just showing a video does not do justice to Junior or his legacy.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) July 24, 2015
Junior Seau was not just any player. If his daughter wants to speak, the Hall of Fame should find a way to make that happen.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) July 24, 2015
Disgusting, not surprising. Also: Some interesting tidbits about Seau's family and the concussion settlement here. https://t.co/zEyvGqm1X3
— Doug Farrar (@SI_DougFarrar) July 24, 2015
Sorry, been writing and didn't really express this correctly: If the HOF doesn't let Junior Seau's family speak, that is garbage. Period.
— Frank Schwab (@YahooSchwab) July 24, 2015
If we're not going to let someone speak in Junior Seau's stead, we do dishonor to his memory and the career for which he paid with his life.
— Ryan Burns (@FtblSickness) July 24, 2015
Please fix this, Hall of Fame. Make an exception. Seau family deserves it. https://t.co/huuSxo7fyO
— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) July 24, 2015
HOF policies change all the time I'm sure, but all of us remember Sara White speaking on Reggie's behalf: http://t.co/dqLrkmeyMt
— Frank Schwab (@YahooSchwab) July 24, 2015
The hallowed Hall of Fame is happy to capitalize on Seau's memory by selling swag with his name and image, however http://t.co/cYhtCV8dXs
— Beau Lynott (@lemonverbena_) July 24, 2015
For the record: We agree. And the Hall will almost certainly reverse course if this kind of backlash continues, so keep it up!
Photo via Getty
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