A Speech Denied

Junior Seau was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame last night. Seau, a linebacker who spent 20 years in the NFL primarily for the San Diego Chargers, committed suicide and was found dead on May 2, 2012.  He wanted his daughter, Sydney Seau, to speak if he was ever elected into the hall. The Hall, citing a five-year old policy of not letting others speak for inductees, would not let Sydney speak for her father.

Sydney Seau accepted a framed remembrance of her father, Junior Seau, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Gold Jacket Ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday. Credit Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Sydney Seau accepted a framed remembrance of her father, Junior Seau, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Gold Jacket Ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday. Credit Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The New York Times published the speech Sydney would have given in its August 8th issue. The speech itself, aside from date, does not fully address the medical issues surrounding Junior’s death.  Sydney would have delivered an emotional speech about her father, yet the Hall and NFL did not allow this. This should have been an exception to discuss the problems with the game.

“What keeps coming to mind when I think of him is the fact that he was basically superhuman. On the field he was relentless, hard-hitting, passionate and unstoppable. Off the field he was caring, gentle, hilarious and generous. On top of that he played within the league for 20 years, and that in itself is pretty exceptional.

But I think what we tend to forget about our favorite invincible, unstoppable, indestructible superhumans is the minor detail that they are also human. That is something that we all must endure today without his physical presence. We cannot celebrate his life and achievement without feeling the constant piece that’s missing.”

-Excerpt from Sydney Seau’s prepared speech

Junior Seau gave his life and body to the game and the game would not even let his daughter speak for him. Instead, a video tribute was shown and Sydney was presented with a plaque. Junior’s death, the result of brain damage, needed to be discussed last night. Sydney needed to speak. Her words showed that her father loved the game and that it consumed him at times. Her words could have been the beginning of a bigger discussion of the risks in America’s most popular game.

ZMP

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Randy Moss Defends Tom Brady

Randy Moss was a great receiver who greatly benefited from playing four season with Tom Brady in New England. The former Patriots’ receiver  defended the deflategate passer over the weekend,

Getty Images
Getty Images

“Over some air?” Moss said, via the Fayetteville Observer. “If he did it, so what? He hasn’t shown me anything but how he carries himself as a professional man, husband, father and athlete. Tom Brady is a pro’s pro. I love the man and everything he’s accomplished.”

Over Moss’ four seasons in New England, the team went to the Super Bowl once, a loss to the New York Football Giants in Super Bowl XLII, ending the Patriots’ attempt at a19-0 record. Moss’ defense of Brady over the deflategate scandal comes as no surprise due to his success in New England. Brady’s fate is in the hands of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell seemingly will rule without much outside opinion regardless of opinions of Brady’s former teammates.

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Troy Polamalu to Retire

Troy Polamalu will now be a former great linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Polamalu told the Steelers he plans in retiring, according to the Herald-Standard (PA)

Polamalu played 12 years for the Steelers and was a dominant presence on one of the best defenses in the NFL. Polamalu also comes to notoriety for his long flowing hair. He leaves football as one of the best linebackers to play the position.

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Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Kicker suing team for $20 Million 

Former New York Giant and Tamp Bay Buccaneer is suing the Bucs for $20 million according to a news release from the Podhurst Orseck and Brad Sohn Law Firm the Tampa Tribune. Tynes claims the team created “unsanitary working conditions” which led to his contraction of the MRSAinfectipn that would end his career.

“The negligence and premises liability lawsuit, filed by Podhurst Orseck and The Brad Sohn Law Firm in Broward County Circuit Court, seeks compensatory damages for (Tynes’) lost salary and substantial pain and suffering,’’ a news release from the firm said.
As the lawsuit alleges, Tynes contracted a Methicillan-resistant Staphylococcus aureas (MRSA) infection from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Training Facility, which ended his career and cost him more than $20 million in expected future earnings.’’


Do Americans care about Soccer? 

The American sporting landscape is changing. Football, even though still highly popular, has come under fire for being to violent and to detrimental to players’ health. Baseball has been declining in popularity amongst young kids, most likely for being too slow. Basketball has maintained its popularity, but has not surpassed football. The question comes when I ll Americans start caring about soccer and the MLS , Major League Soccer, the American league of global football.

Frank Deford of NPR notes that American interest in the global game has peaked, but Americans cannot seem to watch MLS:

For just about every other nation, soccer is thesport—a far, far better thing than the American dollar, beer, Google or sex. Alas, in the United States, soccer has been more commonly identified with soccer moms than soccer players.

The American sports fan loves sports. A fan will watch almost anything — hello PBA bowling. As Deford mentions, the World Cup does get great ratings every four years. However, Americans are used to the best professional sports leagues in the world. This means more Americans are going to watch European leagues over MLS.

MLS has a chance to grow and has been steadily increasing in popularity. At 20 years old the leaugue has expanded, even adding teams in Canada. MLS success relies on keeping home grown talent and growing the game in schools. Maybe ones at MLS will be compared to La Liga, but if that day comes it will not be for a long time.

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NFL to hire First Full-Time Female Referee

Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reported today the NFL plans to hire Sarah Thomas as the first full-time female referee.

@RavensInsider: Hearing the NFL has hired its first female official, Sarah Thomas, a ground-breaking move. Mississippi native was a finalist previously 4/3/15 

The NFL has seen a female referee before. Shannon Eastin was a replacement referee during the 2012 season.

This is good news for the NFL, a league that seemed to be a ‘no female league.’ Hiring Thomas allows the NFL to cater to its female fan base and hopefully bridge the gender gap in the sporting world.

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NFL Looking to Expand Overseas 

The NFL has long wanted to increase its brand image outside the United States. On Thursday Albert Breer of NFL.com reported that the league is looking into expanding into overseas markets, zeroing in on Canada, China, and Mexico.

Both Canada and Mexico have hosted regular season games, while China has always been in the mix. London will play host to 3 regular season games this coming season. Brazil has been mentioned as a Pro Bowl location.  All locations are great to help showcase the NFL brand. However, the most interesting comment from Breer’s reported was from Mark Waller, the NFL’s international chief, stating that the league wanted a team playing in Europe full-time by 2022.

The NFL is not the NBA, MLB, or NHL. These leagues are at the top of their respective sports ladders. International players enjoy playing in those leagues and bring global eyeballs. American gridiron football is a great game, but is a hard sell outside the United States. Canada and Mexico allow for limited exposure on the Nirth American continent, but even in Mexico global futbol wins out. 

The NFL is at a tipping point with international expansion. The league needs to focus on improvements within its current state and then move on to building appeal in foreign markets .

ZMP


NFL Pro Bowl to be played in Brazil?

The National Football League (NFL) is considering Brazil as a possible location for the 2017 Pro Bowl. The location for the annual all star game had been in Honolulu and sporadically at Super Bowl host cities’ stadiums. Staging the event in Brazil may increase the NFL brand awareness in a country that has strong ties to futbol. 

Top 3 destinations for future Pro Bowls?

  1. Barcelona, Spain: The city’s beauty and love of sport can help the NFL grow in a soccer-crazed nation.
  2. Johannesburg, South Africa: A rugby crazed nation that will enjoy another physical game.
  3. London, England: The NFL already plays regular season games in the English capital. Why not just make the meaningless Pro Bowl a Wimbley Stadium staple in January?

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