The family of legendary NFL linebacker Junior Seau will not be allowed to give speeches when he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, the New York Times reports.
Seau played 20 seasons in the NFL and was selected for the Pro Bowl twelve times. He died by suicide in May, 2012. Upon examination of his brain, he was found to have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to football players and other athletes who play contact sports.
The Times reports that Seau had asked his daughter, Sydney, to speak at his HOF induction, "if he ever made it." Instead of a speech from his daughter, a five-minute video produced by NFL Network will be shown during the induction ceremony.
The video will not mention his suicide or the post-mortem findings of CTE, according to the Times. Clips of an NFL Network interview Sydney conducted will be included.
The video-only presentation is consistent with the standard the Hall of Fame implemented years ago. A spokesman for the Hall of Fame said speeches from the families of deceased players "often repeated what was in the video, prolonging an already lengthy ceremony."
To allow Seau's family to speak at his induction would be an exception to the rule — one which many believe should be made for the NFL legend:
The Pro Football Hall of Fame, located in Canton, Ohio, operates in conjunction with, but independent of the NFL. A spokesman for the NFL told the Times they "left decisions about allowing any speeches to the Hall."
Seau's family brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL following his death, and were lumped into a larger class-action lawsuit from thousands of former players. A settlement was reached in the class-action suit, but is pending appeal. An attorney for the Seau family insists that their "lawsuit should be separate from the settlement because Seau's children sued as heirs and 'are not party to the collective bargaining agreement' between the players and the NFL."
Upon being told by the HOF that she will not be able to speak on behalf of Seau, Sydney told the Times:
"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. 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."
Lindsey Adler is a sports reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Lindsey Adler at email@example.com.
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