In a tragedy beyond words, Junior Seau committed suicide on May 2, 2012. He left behind four children and an ex-wife that cares about him deeply. The family has stayed in the news in recent years after filing a lawsuit against the NFL regarding the death of Junior.
In 2013, it was announced doctors found evidence of CTE in Seau’s brain as they examined it. CTE is a disease that many football players have been linked to due to repeated impact to the head.
Controversy also surrounded the family as the Pro Football Hall of Fame initially announced Sydney Seau, Junior’s daughter, would not be allowed to speak at the induction ceremony. After public backlash, the organization reversed their initial decision. Here is everything you need to know about the Seau family:
1. Gina DeBoer and Junior Seau Had 3 Children Together
Gina DeBoer and Junior Seau had three children together. The oldest child is Sydney who is 21. Jake is 19 years old and Hunter is 14 years old. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Junior’s oldest child, Tyler, came from an early relationship with his high school girlfriend, Melissa Waldrop. Gina and Junior got a divorce on November 23, 2001. The couple had been married almost ten years.
2. Sydney Seau Was Initially Not Permitted to Give Induction Speech
In a somewhat surprising move, the Pro Football Hall of Fame did not allow Junior’s family to speak at the induction ceremony. It is believed that the family’s wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL played a part in the decision. The family spoke out about the decision
“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,” Sydney Seau told The New York Times. The Pro Football Hall of Fame finally relented and invited Sydney Seau to speak after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell intervened.
3. The Family is Suing the NFL
We were saddened to learn that Junior, a loving father and teammate, suffered from CTE. While Junior always expected to have aches and pains from his playing days, none of us ever fathomed that he would suffer a debilitating brain disease that would cause him to leave us too soon.
We know this lawsuit will not bring back Junior. But it will send a message that the NFL needs to care for its former players, acknowledge its decades of deception on the issue of head injuries and player safety, and make the game safer for future generations.”
4. The Family is Also Suing Riddell
The family also named the NFL helmet manufacturer, Riddell, Inc., in another lawsuit. According to ESPN, the lawsuit claims Riddell made helmets that were dangerous for the players. The Seaus claim that Riddell was “negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets”
5. The Seaus Released Family Photos to ESPN the Magazine
On the one year anniversary of Junior’s death, the family decided to release unseen family photos to ESPN the Magazine. Gina DeBoer Seau told ESPN,
I want people to see Junior so happy and so full of joy and life. The man I married, the father of our kids, he was so endearing and sweet and strong. Something happened. He eventually became a totally different person. But look at these pictures: For the longest time, we had everything ahead of us.”
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