The presentation of Junior Seau at the Pro Hall of Fame football induction over the weekend prompted some controversy. That’s because his daughter Sydney wasn’t allowed to speak. The award was presented posthumously and NFL rules only allow for a video tribute and prohibit speeches in these situations. But not all was lost. Sydney wanted to make sure her tribute was heard so she took it to the New York Times.
Your Junior Seau, your No. 55 and your buddy, was also my father. And although I didn’t know every aspect of his life, I did know one particular part very well. His athleticism and talent made him extraordinary enough to make it into the Hall, but it is his passion and heart that make him truly legendary and deserving of this tremendous honor. Tonight I would like to honor him and his legendary heart.
The two words that exemplify my dad the most are “passion” and “love.” Everything he achieved, accomplished or set his mind to was done with both qualities. In every situation — whether it be practice, a game, a family barbecue, an impromptu ukulele song or just a run on the Oceanside Strand — he always gave you all of himself because to him, there was never any other option.
I would like to think that his selflessness and ability to love unconditionally were instilled in him by his family. Nana, Papa, all my aunts, uncles, cousins, mother and brothers who share the Seau name, I know that he would say that this honor is also yours. You all were the motivation he needed to become a success. He wanted nothing more than to make you all proud, and I hope you know that without you he wouldn’t have been the man, the player or the father he was, and for that, I also thank you.