(The Pro Football Hall of Fame's Joe Horrigan)
By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
In the wake of Sydney Seau’s emotional and abbreviated address at last weekend’s Hall of Fame ceremony, there have been calls for the Hall to change or discard a five-year-old policy preventing relatives of deceased inductees from making prolonged speeches – with New York Times media critic Richard Sandomir saying, “The Hall should not block anyone from speaking for them.”
Except the Hall argues it does not. In fact, it insists that what you saw last weekend is consistent with what it’s done since the rule was invoked in 2010.
Bottom line: Don’t expect the Pro Football Hall of Fame to deviate from that policy, with Joe Horrigan, the Hall’s vice president in charge of communications, explaining why there’s “no real need” to change or amend it on this week's Talk of Fame radio broadcast.
“What people saw,” said Horrigan, “is exactly what we have always provided. And that’s that Sydney made a beautiful presentation of her father in the video … like all presenters do. Except in the case of a deceased Hall of Famer, we extend it so that we can do them justice. So I think those who saw it will agree that it was an outstanding job not just by Sydney but also by the production crew that put it together. It was a great salute to Junior Seau, who was being enshrined.
“So that part is what we always do. The other element that we had that people saw was Sydney then speaking after the unveiling of the bronze bust. We do that as well for the live audience for those people, and most of the critics have not seen a Hall of Fame ceremony live, strangely enough. But that’s what we do.
“After a bronze bust is unveiled, and the Hall of Famer … when they’re living … makes their speech, then, during that next commercial break, we do live interviews – from usually a returning Hall of Famer who may reflect on his teammate who just made an acceptance speech … or a friend or some connection to make it relevant.
“And that’s exactly what we did with Sydney, and I think it was very, very effective. You have the great moment – 6 1/2 minutes -- of the presenter’s speech, followed by the very emotional unveiling of the bronzed bust by the family members and then we did the interview. The only difference for those watching their television was that the networks asked that they be allowed … and we of course encouraged them to do so … to stay with it live, as opposed to going to commercial break. There was so much intrigue.
“That’s exactly how we do it. So I don’t see where there’s any real need to change that. It was very, very well received, not only by those who were at the ceremony, but those who watched on television and by those who participated. Sydney was fantastic.”