On Saturday, August 8, 2015, eight NFL greats received their induction into the NFL Hall of Fame. But there was one notable absence: linebacker and inductee Junior Seau. Seau committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 43, leaving behind four children, all of whom were in attendance to unveil the bust of their dad in Canton, OH.
Before he died, Seau asked his daughter to give a speech for him if he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. However, in 2010 the Hall of Fame stated that those inducted posthumously would have a longer highlight reel shown than those inductees still living, but no speech afterward.
When reports surfaced that Seau’s daughter would not be able to pay tribute to her father, fans, sportscasters and players protested. The Hall of Fame capitulated, allowing Sydney Seau to speak briefly about the impact of her dad in football and life. It was a speech no daughter should have to give.
However, the full video Sydney recorded in her hotel room offers a deeper look at the man who was her dad. She talks about her dad’s love for football and his fans. Sydney touches on how overwhelmed he would have been by the love shown to him by his peers and the Leauge. And she shares the heartbreak of her family when she talks about how deeply they feel the loss his presence in their lives.
May 2, 2012, we all endured a loss. Thousands lost their all-time favorite linebacker, hundreds lost their favorite Charger, tens lost their buddy, and four lost their father. The reason why this honor is so hard to accept is because we had always envisioned him still being here to accept it.
But something that we all cannot deny is that we are all still here. We can keep working today, we can keep building our tomorrows, and we can keep praying for the rest. This superhumanlike man truly blessed us with one of the most precious gifts he could have given.
He gave us his time.
You can read a full transcript of the video at The New York Times.