Canton, Ohio – The Pro Football Hall of Fame starts the 2015 NFL season with the induction ceremony that will reunite the best players in the country. Eight more busts were added to its collection of legends of the game formally enshrined. Seau Jr and Charles Haley were the most resonating inductees, highlighting the issue of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). One of them through their descendants and the other by giving a speech at the right time.
First of all, it is important to say that the event was cast on controversies about who will receive Seau Jr recognitions, the linebacker who played in the NFL for 20 seasons, including a stretch from 2006 to 2009 with the New England Patriots.
Seau Jr who was elected posthumously to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, committed suicide on 2012 and it was announced that his family wouldn’t be allowed to speak on his behalf this night. However, later studies by the National Institute of Health (NIH) concluded that Seau suffered CTE , a type of chronic brain damage that has also been found in former deceased NFL players. The Hall of Fame, in order to make this a special event, decided to disregard its policy and let Seau’s daughter raise her voice. She could not speak in the podium but she could give an interview after receiving a framed remembrance of her father.
“Our goal was to try and keep our policy but also show some compassion and understanding,” Baker said in an interview. “Through all the conversations, Sydney has always been great. She will have the opportunity to say whatever she wants to say but we will still maintain our policy. We want this to be a great day for Sydney and her family. Should she choose not to speak afterward, that should be OK.”
Charles Haley, took on the issue of mental health, caused by brain injuries during his career. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder years after his retirement in 1999. He faced struggles and tensions even with players and coaches. “I walked into the league a 22-year-old man with a 16-year-old inside of me screaming for help, and I would not ask for it. I would not ask for that help. But today, guys, I take my medicine every day, and I try to inspire others to do the same, and that’s because I finally listened and thank you”, he said in his speech. Moreover, inductee Mick Tingelhoff, former center for the Minnesota Vikings is suffering from dementia and memory loss, however he did not delivered his own speech.
On this note there have been some voices from the intelectual arena addressing this issue but at a University Football level. For example Malcolm Gladwell, famous writer of non-fiction books and journalist from The New Yorker. He himself is a football fan, but he describes it as being “moraly problematic”, since mental illness has become a major issue in the sport. His opinion is expressed in this video.
Apart from the controversies, there are details from the ceremony that must be explained. For example, which is the main symbol given to the inductees for the Hall of Fame?
Each year a gold jacket is given to new hall of fame inductees to symbolize their induction into the hall of fame. According to NFL.com, the jacket is gold because the gentlemen who are being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame are the “gold standard of their profession.”
The process to make the jackets starts few month previous to the ceremony. New class inductees receive the jacket by mail in May to make sure it fits properly, and it comes with strict guidelines, such as a prohibition to take pictures with the jacket. Since 1978 the official provider of the gold symbol has been Haggar Clothing. The gold jacket is custom fitted for each individual, and contains the hall of fame patch sewn on the outside, and hall of fame buttons. It also has a unique lining on the inside along with a patch that will have the inductees name and number.
In this video the gold jacket process is documented.
But must important, who are the 8 gentlemen who were enshrined in The Pro Football Hall of Fame?
The full order looked like this:
Ron Wolf: Former American football general manager (GM) of theNational Football League’s Green Bay Packers.One of the most highly regarded talent evaluators and team architects in NFL history. He started his career as a scout under Al Davis with the Raiders in the early 1960s and helped build a dynasty that ran throughout the 1970s and culminated with the Super Bowl XVIII Championship team in 1983.
Charles Haley: played in the National Football League for the San Francisco 49ers (1986–1991, 1998–1999) and the Dallas Cowboys (1992–1996). He was selected in the fourth round of the 1986 NFL Draft out of James Madison University.
Mick Tingelhoff: Former football center who played for the Minnesota Vikings from 1962-1978.
Will Shields: He played college football for the University of Nebraska. He played his entire professional career for the NFL’sKansas City Chiefs, and never missed a game in fourteen seasons.
Bill Polian: He rose to league prominence as the General Manager of theBuffalo Bills, building a team that participated in four straight Super Bowls—the most consecutive appearances by any team—but lost each time
Tim Brown: In Notre Dame he played college football, where he won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award. He spent sixteen years with the Oakland Raiders (Los Angeles Raiders 1982–1994). During that time he established himself as one of the NFL’s most prolific wide receivers.
Junior Seau: Tiaina Baul “Junior” Seau Jr. was a linebacker in the National Football League. Had a passionate playing style, he was a 10-time All-Pro, 12-time Pro Bowl selection, and named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He died in 2012, and suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
Jerome Bettis: Jerome Abram Bettis Sr. The Bus and The Battering Ram, his nicknames, is a former American football halfback who played for the Los Angeles Rams/St. Louis Rams andPittsburgh Steelers of the NFL.
Source: The Pro Football Hall of Fame