Junior Seau’s family won’t be speaking at his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction. But the Hall insists that they’re not a special case.
After The New York Times published a story Friday about Seau’s family being banned from speaking at the ceremony, Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker responded Saturday with a letter saying they were following an existing policy.
Here is part of Baker’s letter:
Reports published Friday incorrectly stated that the Hall of Fame was “not allowing” or “barring” the Seau family from speaking at the Enshrinement on Saturday, Aug. 8. Nothing could be further from the truth, which is why I write this letter.
The stories erroneously imply that a change in our policy regarding individuals enshrined posthumously was made solely for the case of Junior Seau when, in fact, it has been the Hall of Fame’s policy since 2010. This is not a precedent setting circumstance. It is existing policy, which is six years old and was first implemented in 2011 when Los Angeles Rams great Les Richter was enshrined posthumously.
For clarification, only Hall of Famers speak at the podium during the Enshrinement. Presenters speak through dramatic videos that celebrate the enshrinees’ Hall of Fame careers.
The role of Sydney Seau, who will present her late father, is the same as the seven other distinguished individuals who will serve as presenters for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015. As is the case each year at the Enshrinement, all presenters will share their reflections in videos. Sydney will also have multiple other opportunities to speak to the media and fans at Enshrinement Weekend.
The Hall has been in positive communication with Sydney, her mother, and the executor of Junior’s estate who each have communicated to us that they understand and fully support the Hall’s policy.
The former San Diego Chargers linebacker is the first player to be inducted posthumously since Richter, who as Baker mentioned was the first under the new policy. However, Seau’s family’s exclusion still has been met with much controversy, as the linebacker committed suicide in 2012 after struggling with CTE, a degenerative brain disease caused by the hits he took in the NFL.
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