Sydney Seau will, finally, get a chance to honor her father.
The daughter of the late Junior Seau, who took his own life in 2012, will be interviewed on stage during the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony and will be heavily featured in a nearly six minute tribute video, highlighting his impressive defensive career.
There had been a heavy debate in the weeks before the Hall of Fame induction after a little-known-policy seemingly prevented Seau from speaking during her father’s on-stage moment. A compromise from both Seau’s family and the Hall led to this weekend’s current arrangement. Here’s what you need to know about Sydney:
1. The NFL Announced Seau Would be Allowed to Speak at the HOF Induction This Week
After several weeks of debate, the NFL Hall of Fame announced that Sydney Seau would be given the opportunity to speak at the weekend’s ceremonies. Although she won’t be giving an induction speech, the league announced that Seau and her three brothers would be onstage for the unveiling of their father’s Hall of Fame bust and will be interviewed on stage.
Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker told FOX Sports:
Our goal was to try and keep our policy but also show some compassion and understanding. Through all the conversations, Sydney has always been great. She will have the opportunity to say whatever she wants to say but we will still maintain our policy. We want this to be a great day for Sydney and her family. Should she choose not to speak afterward, that should be OK.
In 2010, the Hall adopted a policy preventing speeches to be given on behalf of deceased inductees. However, the policy wasn’t highly publicized and created an idea that Seau was being silenced by the league.
Beofre his death in 2012, Seau had specified that Sydney should speak on his behalf if he was ever inducted into the Hall. After the announcement that her father would be enshrined this summer, Seau had been preparing a speech and even taped an interview with the NFL Network.
2. She Accepted Her Father’s Hall of Fame Gold Jacket
Seau took her first step into the Hall of Fame spotlight on Thursday night, representing her father during the Gold Jacket Dinner to accept a plaque honoring the standout linebacker.
Seau told Chargers.com that the moment was more than she expected, saying:
I’m just overwhelmed, honestly. This type of event is something he was made for. Being here with all his friends and family and being able to celebrate something that he worked his whole career for, it’s really sad for him to not be here. But we’re here to celebrate and represent him in the best way possible, and we’re just so happy and honored to be able to represent him.
3. Seau Played Beach Volleyball at USC
Following in her father’s undeniably athletic footsteps, Seau also attended the University of Southern California, where she competed with the school’s beach volleyball team.
Prior to competing at the collegiate level, Seau played high school volleyball at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, California and also played indoor volleyball for the Encinitas Wave Volleyball Club. She actually didn’t start playing “sand volleyball” until she was just 19 years old.
4. Seau is a Communications Major at USC
The soon-to-be senior Trojan entered USC as a communications major and has long focused her career aspirations on sports media.
She told the athletic program’s website that wasn’t sure if she wanted to be in front of the camera or behind it but added “I’m hoping for something in the industry.”
5. She Has Previously Spoken Out About Her Father’s Post-Football Condition
Although she has said that she won’t mention her father’s post-football condition during his Hall of Fame induction, Seau has not been shy about discussing his physical and mental deterioration after he retired or the events that led to his 2012 suicide.
Seau gave an in-depth interview with League of Denial author Mark Fainar-Wada in February 2013, which was shown on PBS’s Frontline. She described her father and his refusal to “break” in front of her:
He would just shake it off and be like: “Syd, like, come on, Beau. Everything’s fine. Why would you think anything different? We have a great life.” He would just present the positive, or he would just completely ignore the fact that I caught onto something, and he would just go on to something else. I would obviously notice, but because he was ignoring it, I didn’t want to keep bringing it up and just beating a dead horse, so I would just go along.
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