Hall of Fame’s posthumous policy was adopted in 2010

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When it comes to Friday afternoon bad-news dumps, the NFL typically engineers the placement of its own troublesome information. This Friday, the three-pack of suspensions released by the league was supplemented by a piece of bad news that came from another portion of Manhattan.

It was the New York Times, not the National Football League, that published a story about the late Junior Seau that makes the league look bad.

As noted previously by MDS, the Pro Football Hall of Fame won’t let Seau’s daughter give a speech on his behalf. The article from Ken Belson of the Times creates the impression that the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply said “no” without any specific reason or rationale. The Hall of Fame has since issued a press release regarding its policy on posthumous presentations.

“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 Hall of Fame said in a statement issued late Friday. “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. The Pro Football Hall of Fame looks forward to honoring the careers of Junior Seau and the seven other members of the Class of 2015 during the upcoming Enshrinement Ceremony.”

The chain of events created suspicion that this policy was cobbled together not five years ago but today, especially since Belson’s story made no mention of any general policy regarding Hall of Famers who are inducted following their deaths, which would make the decision not to let Seau’s daughter speak seem disconnected to any concerns about the things she might say. However, the policy really was enacted in 2010, even if it wasn’t publicized and was otherwise poorly communicated until now.

The change came a year after both Chiefs G.M. Carl Peterson and Derrion Thomas spoke on behalf of the late Derrick Thomas, at the same time the Hall of Fame ditched the dual speeches and went with a video from the presenter followed by a speech from the new Hall of Famer. As Hall of Fame spokesman Joe Horrigan told Belson, the goal was to avoid redundancies between the two speeches.

Redundancies or not, the process continues to be tedious at times, with some of the Hall of Famers making their final moment in the sun last as long as humanly possible, and then some. The effort to streamline the process in 2010 should have gone well beyond ending the practice of having someone speak on behalf of the deceased enshrined; the fact that it didn’t will make it harder for many to accept that the five-year-old policy was actually about making a seemingly endless night end a few minutes earlier.

18 responses to “Hall of Fame’s posthumous policy was adopted in 2010

  1. The NFL has to reverse course on this one. Bad look on many levels. The public appears to be at a consensus in wanting to hear Seau’s daughter speak.

  2. The program is BORING so this is a good policy for all inductees, living or deceased. But in this day and age the NFL ought to be able to catch multiple videos from inductees and/or several people who are close to them and post those videos on line.

    You’d think they would love to rake in more dough from sponsors who’d gladly pay for the eyeballs.

  3. There seems to be a trend among younger NFL fans and less experienced scribes to disrespect the existing rules of the NFL and HOF. The scribes merely need to investigate existing rules and traditions without challenging whether they make sense – to them.

  4. Just handled atrociously, like everything else the league office gets involved with these days.

    Whether this is a “policy since 2010” or not, it seems rude to not let Junior Seau’s daughter speak at the induction. And why? Because the video is long and they won’t have enough time? Gee, that’s certainly a strong reason.

  5. Lets not accept that these “Gladiators” are sacrificing their body and minds for the sake of their family and fame. The NFL drives great profit and financial opportunity, at the cost of their members.

    Let her find some closure.

  6. The NY Times purposely told half the story in order to push an agenda? Color me shocked.

  7. Let her speak for heaven’s sake. One instance does not a policy make. We didn’t make the policy, either, the HOF did. The fans are saying the policy fails. Besides, even the appearance of the HOF cowtowing to the NFL is wrong.

  8. The HOF couldn’t do anything to stop the well-deserved 4 minute standing ovation the Redskins faithful gave Art Monk.

    One of the best HOF moments in recent history.

  9. turkjones says:
    Jul 24, 2015 9:06 PM

    The NFL has to reverse course on this one.

    I am pretty sure that your down-votes are because it has nothing to do with the NFL proper. It is all in the hands of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which is a totally separate organization.

    Other than that, I am sure that most of us agree with you.

  10. I sorta wish none of them spoke. Does anybody really sit through that thing? On a summer weekend? Really?

  11. If you read the article, it does actually mention that. It doesn’t go into a ton of detail, sure, but it’s there. From the NYTimes:

    In the past, for deceased inductees, presenters spoke, but Joe Horrigan, a spokesman for the Hall who has overseen the enshrinement ceremony for 20 years, said they often repeated what was in the video, prolonging an already lengthy ceremony. So a few years ago, the Hall eliminated speeches in these cases.

    “There was an acceptance speech for deceased players, but it got redundant,” Horrigan said. “The honor is supposed to be for the individual.”

    In 2011, no one spoke for Les Richter, a linebacker with the Los Angeles Rams who died a year earlier.

  12. if thats your policy, which is stupid, then why dont you have videos for all inductees. only HOF in the World that wont let family members speak on behalf of deceased inductees.

    What a joke, just like the League Office

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