It’s always a bittersweet moment when a former National Football League player gets inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame posthumously. And when Junior Seau enters the Hall next month, the scenario will be way more bitter than sweet.
Before his tragic death, Seau told his family that if he was ever inducted to the HoF, the 14-year NFL veteran wanted his daughter Sydney to give his induction speech.
However, it doesn't look like she will get a chance.
HoF spokesman Joe Horrigan spokesman told the New York Times that Sydney won't be allowed to speak due to a recent policy change. Under the new policy, deceased inductees are introduced with a video that's put together by NFL Network.
"There was an acceptance speech for deceased players but it got redundant," Horrigan told the Times. "The honor is supposed to be for the individual."
Living inductees are also introduced by a video, but after the video's shown, a presenter comes out on stage and gives what usually ends up being a pretty emotional speech.
Presenters used to come out on stage to introduce deceased inductees, but the HoF changed its policy "a few years ago."
David Baker, executive director of the Hall, told the Times that Seau's suicide and his family's pending lawsuit against the NFL had nothing to do with the decision in this case.
“We’re not the N.F.L., but the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said Baker. “Our mission is to honor the heroes of the game, and Junior is a hero of the game. We’re going to celebrate his life, not the death and other issues.”
Seau’s video will not mention the lawsuit that Seau’s family has filed against the NFL, although the league has publicized its crusade to curb injuries in active players and address brain disease among its almost 20,000 retired players.
Seau’s video tribute will be five minutes, two minutes longer than for living inductees, Horrigan said. It will include parts of an interview his daughter gave to NFL Network before, she said, she learned that no one would be making a speech.