The NIH's NFL Hall of Shame
After considerable controversy, the National Football League allowed Sydney Seau to speak at last weekend's NFL Hall of Fame ceremony, following the posthumous induction of her father, Tiaina Baul "Junior" Seau, Jr. Seau, a fearsome linebacker who played the majority of his career with the San Diego Chargers, took his own life in 2012 after a period of prolonged depression. A postmortem examination of his brain by scientists associated with the National Institutes of Health revealed signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, a brain disease which can be caused by repeated blows to the head, and which can bring on feelings of depression and even suicidal ideation. Seau's daughter said that the League had initially invited her to speak at the ceremony, but then rescinded the offer, citing Hall of Fame policy. Only after Ms. Seau publicly stated, "I just want to give the speech he would have given. It wasn't going to be about this mess," was the invitation renewed.
One of these things is not like the other…
Now, according to a press release from the National Institutes of Health, Ms. Seau has another speaking engagement to consider: "The National Institutes of Health hereby formally extends an invitation to Ms. Sydney Seau to attend the induction ceremony welcoming her father into our NFL Hall of Shame on October 1, 2015. The Hall exists to protest the unintentional and unwilling sacrifices made by the dozens of NFL players who have suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy as a result of the ever-more-violent collisions that are part and parcel of professional football. After we unveil the bust of Mr. Seau's CTE-damaged brain, we invite Ms. Seau to say whatever the hell she wants: about her father, about football, about bloodthirsty American sports fans, about the National Football League's pathetic response to the crisis — hell, even about us and our decision to use her father's tragic death from brain disease as a tool for raising awareness. Have at it, sweetie; you're the one who lost a father."