The daughter of the late Junior Seau, one of the National Football League's greatest linebackers, will be allowed to speak at his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony Aug. 8. David Baker, the president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, told Fox Sports Saturday Sydney Seau will be interviewed on stage when her father’s bronze bust is unveiled, giving her the chance to speak in honor of her father.
While Sydney Seau still will not be able to give a full speech, in accordance with the Hall of Fame's rule only allowing a video presentation, showing highlights of the player's career and comments from family and friends, for posthumous inductees. Seau's video will be longer than usual and will include comments from Sydney, Fox Sports reported.
The Hall of Fame’s policy was established to cut down on overlapping commentary and to speed up a lengthy ceremony, but led to the perception that the Hall of Fame intended to silence Sydney Seau, who has been outspoken critic of the NFL since her father's death in 2012, and who, along with her family, currently has a wrongful death lawsuit against the football league that claims brain damage sustained in the NFL led to his suicide.
Before his death in 2012, Seau had specified his daughter, Sydney, should speak on his behalf if he made it into the Hall, the New York Times reported.
In 2012 Seau shot himself in the chest, less than three years into retirement after a 20-year career. An autopsy revealed he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease causing dementia and depression that comes from repeated hits to the head. While the NFL has previously denied connections between longterm brain damage and repeated hits to the head, the league has paid millions in a class-action suit brought by retired NFL players.
"Our goal was to try and keep our policy but also show some compassion and understanding," Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker told FOX Sports. "Through all the conversations, Sydney has always been great."