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Junior Seau's daughter, Sydney, has been informed she will not be allowed to speak during her father's posthumous induction into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 8. The Pro Football Hall of Fame released a statement saying the decision is consistent with its policy regarding deceased players.
"The policy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 2010 regarding individuals enshrined posthumously provides for an expanded presenting video (longer than the videos of living inductees) followed by the traditional unveiling of the bronzed bust and no additional comments made from the podium," the statement said.
"This policy is not precedent setting and was implemented for the first time in 2011 when former Los Angeles Rams great Les Richter was inducted posthumously."
No speech for Seau and mention of Los Angeles? Talk about a punch to the stomach for Chargers fans.
The Hall of Fame may cite precedent, even one less than five years old, but this reeks more of censorship. Seau's family is suing the NFL after his autopsy revealed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease caused by frequent head trauma that has been found in the brains of dozens of deceased NFL players.
The lawsuit alleges the NFL hid the effects of football-related head trauma for years.
Seau's daughter insists her speech was to focus solely on her father and not on CTE or any related issues.
"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 Seau told The New York Times. "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."
Other than perhaps LaDainian Tomlinson, Seau is the most decorated player in Chargers history. He led the franchise to its only Super Bowl appearance following the 1994 season and was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame in 2011. Over the course of his 20-year career with the Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots, he racked up 1,522 tackles, 56.5 sacks and 18 interceptions.
Being inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside Seau will be Jerome Bettis, Will Shields, Tim Brown, Charles Haley, Mick Tingelhoff and former general managers Bill Polian and Ron Wolf.
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Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for Scout.com and has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. In addition to being publisher of SDBoltReport.com, he works as the Senior NFL Reporter for Footballinsiders.com. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter @NFLinsider_Mike.