College Football

Reggie Bush gives Back the Heisman Trophy

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In what many considered an inevitable event, Reggie Bush has agreed to return his 2005 Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trophy Trust after violating NCAA standards for eligibility.  Prior to this announcement, Bush had been very vague about his wrongdoing, stating that he was sorry that this situation had happened.  However, he did not necessarily admit any specific errors and it was perceived that Bush was not inclined to return the trophy, even though USC had already returned their copy.  With Bush returning the trophy, here are a few thoughts on where this issue will go from here. 

Why now?

Ever since USC took the step of returning the trophy, all eyes have been on Bush.  Since this involves organizations like the Heisman Trophy Trust, there was uncertainly as to what action they might take.  Would the Trust send muscle-bound thugs to take the trophy by force? Ultimately, Bush seems to have realized that public sentiment was not on his side.  No one knows for sure what sort of discussions happened behind closed doors, but there always exists the possibility that the Heisman people communicated to Bush that they would be requesting the trophy to be returned.  If they had to take legal action, it might get very messy. 

The damage is done

The challenge with this issue is that it goes beyond Reggie Bush.  Reggie is now a millionaire in the NFL.  Obviously he has been subjected to some embarrassment and he will never have the same reputation as he did before.  Reggie was quoted as saying, “For the rest of my days, I will continue to strive to demonstrate through my actions and words that I was deserving of the confidence placed in me by the Heisman Trophy Trust.”  That is a nice statement that was probably written by someone else.  However, he did get a job and if he manages his money he will be set for life.  In addition, it doesn’t specifically say that he messed up.  In addition, USC has been damaged and it will take years to repair their reputation and their ability to generate revenue through the football program.  Therefore, returning the trophy is a positive step, but the damage has ultimately been done to a much larger group of people. 

Vacate or pass it on?

The original winner of the 2005 Heisman is no more.  All that is left are memories.  Will the Heisman Trophy Trust simply say that there is no winner from 2005? Will they give it to Vince Young, the runner-up from that year? Or might they even re-vote? Young has stated that he did not necessarily want the trophy as it was originally won fair and square by Bush.  Lately, his comments have changed a bit and he has expressed openness to receiving the trophy.  If he does accept the trophy, it may be for the good of his school.  For now, there is no winner of the 2005 Heisman Trophy.

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