Junior Seau's Family 'Silenced' by Hall of Fame

But the Hall says that's normal with deceased inductees
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2015 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Pro Football Hall of Fame will posthumously induct Junior Seau next month, but don't expect to hear speeches from his family—who won't be allowed to utter a word. The Hall plans to show a 5-minute video that honors the star linebacker without mentioning Seau's diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, his suicide in 2012, or his family's lawsuit against the NFL, the New York Times reports. "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," says Seau's daughter, Sydney. "I just want to give the speech he would have given. It wasn’t going to be about this mess." The Hall says it's no snub, because inductions for deceased inductees in recent years haven't included speeches (which were banned for being redundant and lengthy).

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"We’re going to celebrate his life, not the death and other issues," says the Hall's executive director, David Baker. But not everyone agrees: "So Sydney Seau is the valedictorian reduced to holding a flag at graduation, lest she embarrass the principal by exercising a little freedom of thought," writes Mike Tanier at Bleacher Report. At issue is the Seau family's 2013 lawsuit, which accused the NFL of hiding players' risk of head trauma for years, ESPN reports. The suit became part of a class-action lawsuit by thousands of retired players, but the Seaus pulled out when a settlement said nothing about their claims. Now comes the induction ceremony of a man who killed himself at age 43: "It’s been like planning a wedding party without the groom," says Junior's ex-wife, Gina. (Read more traumatic brain injury stories.)

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