As we all know, the late great Junior Seau was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday. Seau’s daughter Sydney was on hand to present the award to her father, but the league would not allow her to give her full speech, citing “a posthumous-induction policy from 2010,” per USA TODAY Sports.
The New York Times published this video of Sydney’s fully intended speech, recording in a Canton, OH hotel room (full transcript below).
“First off, I would like to thank the generous people of Canton, Ohio, for opening up their homes for this event, the Pro Football Hall of Fame committee for voting my father into the Hall, and of course the other seven deserving inductees.
Before I start thanking communities, teams, family and friends that I do know and many others that I have yet to have the pleasure of getting to know, I would like to say that this is not my speech to give. This speech was meant for a man that worked 20 years within the sport he loved most in this world.
I cannot speak for him because I am not him. I have not played in the N.F.L. for one second, let alone 20 years; I do not have past seasons to reminisce about or hilarious locker room stories to joke about. But I do have one thing, and that is unconditional love.
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.
Being the first Polynesian and Samoan to make it into the Hall of Fame is such an accomplishment. He is proof that even a young boy from Oceanside can make his dreams a reality. All his success is a direct reflection of the Oceanside community and family that raised him and molded him into the man he became. Although he is the first Polynesian to make it into the Hall, I know he will not be the last.”