The parents and four children of the late Junior Seau were given a framed No. 55 jersey during a brief ceremony between the first and second quarter Saturday after a touching video tribute played on the scoreboard to honor the memory of the former Trojan All-American linebacker.
Some 90,000 red wristbands reading “Trojan Pride 55” were distributed to fans as they entered the Coliseum before the game. The Twitter keyword “#RIP55” was also emblazed on the field in white stencil on the USC sideline.
Deborah Golian Castro, president and CEO of Creative Productions in Long Beach, said that as an alum who has come to USC games for some 20 years, she wanted to do something with her company’s sponsorship of USC athletics to honor Seau.
In addition to the wristbands, she created a website, www.TrojanPride55, allowing fans to post messages about Seau, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest in May. He was 43.
“It creates a community with no barriers for his fans, friends and family to come together and express themselves,” said Castro. “It’s very heartfelt.”
Castro was one of many who last saw Seau attend the Trojans’ spring practice at the Coliseum in April, just weeks before his death. During that appearance, Seau played a ukulele and sang the Eric Clapton song, “You Look Wonderful Tonight,” which was shown as part of the scoreboard video.
“This is really the first time the Trojan fans have been able to get together and say goodbye, while also celebrate his legacy,” said Castro, who added that portions of the sales of the wristband at the website will be donated to support the study of sports-related brain injuries.
Seau’s oldest son, Tyler, consoled his grandparents, Tiaina and Luisa during the ceremony, where USC athletic director Pat Haden presented the framed No. 55. Daughter Sydney is a freshman at USC playing volleyball. His 16-year-old son, Jake, is a lacrosse standout who has committed to Duke, and 11-year-old son Hunter were also present.