Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker penned a letter to the fans Saturday refuting the reports that the HOF denied Junior Seau's family the right to speak at the late Seau's induction ceremony. Baker wrote that it's policy that only Hall of Famers themselves are allowed to speak, while others can voice their thoughts in video form.
"The stories erroneously imply that a change in our policy regarding individuals enshrined posthumously was made solely for the case of Junior Seau when, in fact, it has been the Hall of Fame’s policy since 2010. This is not a precedent setting circumstance. It is existing policy, which is six years old and was first implemented in 2011 when Los Angeles Rams great Les Richter was enshrined posthumously."
Baker added that the Hall of Fame has contacted Seau's family, who said they understand the policy in place. The Seau family, however, refuted that claim on Monday and said they do not agree with the policy and the HOF's unwillingness to let Seau's daughter speak despite previously saying she would be able to.
A New York Times report published Friday quoted Seau's daughter, Sydney, as saying the following:
"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."
And that same report included comments from Seau's former wife:
"Seau’s former wife, Gina, was 'very surprised' by the Hall of Fame’s policy to use only a video because she did not 'think Sydney or any of us were going to use the Hall of Fame as a platform.'"
Basically what all of this is saying is that Seau's family still won't be allowed to speak at the ceremony, and that the NFL is unwilling to bend its apparently rock solid policy, even under the circumstances of Seau's death.