I love watching the NFL. It's a passion of mine, and will forever be. Yet, there are times when I just can't understand what the organization itself is doing? From "gate" to gate" - Deflate, Bounty, Spy, ect... - rule changes, relocation debacles, and now: Silencing the Seau family at his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction... Really?
While the Football Hall of Fame brands itself as not a part of the NFL proper, they claim the following when it comes to family members speaking for a deceased inductee:
"There was an acceptance speech for deceased players but it got redundant," HoF spokesman Joe Horrigan told the NYT "The honor is supposed to be for the individual."
Redundant... Yes, having a video supplied by NFL films is all the personal touch we need, isn't it? No need to hear from Junior Seau's family, especially since it was the great linebacker's wish that if he ever made it to the Hall of Fame, he wanted his daughter to give his acceptance speech...
But the NFL is image-phobic to an absurd degree. They have it in their mind's the Seau family will go off on some damaging rant about head trauma in football. Like that cat isn't already out of the bag, right? It's best if they - the Seau's - don't say it out loud, because then it will go away...
A player's Hall of Fame induction is about his career, but it also marks a resting place for everything they've done to enter the hallowed halls commemorating the game we all love. Great moments are a given, but the NFL has to embrace it all. The Seau family has a lawsuit pending against the NFL, but it shouldn't change anything when it comes to the Hall of Fame. As the Hall says, they're NOT the NFL:
On the other hand, HOF executive director David Baker specifically mentioned those things as why it wouldn't make sense for Sydney to give a speech.
"We're not the NFL, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame," Baker said. "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."
Yes, the Hall of Fame has its standards. Inductees can ramble on and on - even though they are given 12 minutes to speak - and talk about pretty much anything they want. We like to hear personal stories about their careers, but every now and then they throw in a Commissioner barb, or a political thought. It's their time, right? A former inductee can say anything he wants, AFTER being inducted. But if the player has passed away, there isn't anyone in the world who'd want to hear from their family... You screwed the pooch here NFL, and you need to fix it. Seau's daughter - Sydney - deserves her time, because it's her father's time.
"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," Sydney said. "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."
No Canton leveling storms will arrive if Sydney speaks. Puppies won't cry, and the Sun will continue to show itself each morning. Not letting the Seau family speak though, will cast a cloud over the NFL, and the rain coming from this little mistake of their's isn't going to go away.
In the wake of all the "gate" messes, domestic violence accounts, drug use, arrests, ect, this moment for Junior Seau seems to be just too much for the NFL. Rodger Goodell: It's time to step up, and get this one right...