USC running back Reggie Bush announced he would return his copy of the 2005 Heisman Trophy, the latest fallout from NCAA findings against him and the school.
However, Bush should not be praised for what he did. The move was simply a public relations decision, something done to gain him some sympathy in the public eye. This is not being done for the greater good of the game, or future players, despite what Bush said in his statement:
“I would like to begin in this effort by turning a negative situation into a positive one by working with the Trustees to establish an educational program which will assist student-athletes and their families avoid some of the mistakes that I made. I am determined to view this event as an opportunity to help others and to advance the values and mission of the Heisman Trophy.”
It bears repeating, but if you’ve been following this whole debacle, you know most of it: Bush was declared to be ineligible by the NCAA for the 2005 season for receiving improper benefits. As a result, USC football was hit with a two-year postseason ban, lost 30 scholarships, had to vacate 14 victories and could have its 2004 BCS championship vacated pending the result of an appeal. The school already returned their copy of the trophy.
Bush, meanwhile, parlayed his success on the field to a 1st-round pick in the NFL draft, tens of millions of dollars and a Super Bowl ring. Sure, he’s probably lost some credibility among those who wish to morally grandstand, but he’s hardly been punished in any tangible way, especially compared to USC’s program as a whole.
Even the Heisman gesture is largely symbolic. Bush was widely considered to be the best college player in the country in 2005, and vacating the award–or giving it to Vince Young, doesn’t change what happened on the field.
Reggie Bush Forced to Give Back Heisman Trophy
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