Reggie Bush wants his Heisman Trophy reinstated now that paying NCAA players for name, image, and likeness rights has become legal. Bush forfeited his trophy in 2010 after the NCAA ruled that the running back had received improper benefits five years prior while at USC. As a result of the ruling, his entire junior season was vacated from the records.
Bush said today: “Over the last few months, on multiple occasions, my team and I have reached out to both the NCAA and The Heisman Trust in regard to the reinstatement of my college records and the return of my Heisman.
“We left multiple messages for Michael Comerford, the President of the Heisman Trust, but instead received a call from Rob Whalen, the Executive Director, who stated that Mr. Comerford would not be calling us back and that, in any event, they could not help us.”
I always just assumed that “vacating” meant the shame bell from Thrones; like, the NCAA will scrub you from their website, but everyone really knows who won the award that year. In other words, at the end of the day, the punishment just boils down to some bad press and a NCAA finger-wag. But Bush’s plea sounds like someone from the Heisman team literally showed up at his house and took the trophy back over a decade ago, and Reggie’s bed has been cold and lonely ever since.
What’s even wilder is how marketable Bush would have been in his prime had these new rules existed sixteen years ago. Young, good-looking, a generational talent, and playing in Los Angeles during USC’s incredible heyday? Bush would have set the market to new heights. Hell, he even started sleeping with the hot Kardashian in her prime, too. Add in the social media effect of today and the guy would have been a flat-out sensation—the sort of fame that’s reserved for icons, not just great athletes.
So it’s no surprise that he was skimming something off the top, and honestly, nobody really cares. But like Bone says to Alonzo at the end of Training Day, you got me twisted, homey, you got to put your own work in around here. Reggie’s performance on the field shouldn’t be overlooked because of outdated policies, but come on, man. If you’re going to bend the rules, you got to know how to get away with it. Anyone who gets caught breaking a rule, no matter how dumb the rule may be, either thinks he’s above the law or isn’t thinking at all, neither of which is good business. Plus, add in Bush’s propensity to fire off asinine political takes left and right (especially left), and the whole picture here starts to come into more focus. Would I want Reggie to help me get into a hot new nightclub? Absolutely. Would I want Reggie to fill me in on current inflationary outlooks based on the Fed’s monetary policy? Probably not.
This little tiff could be a good litmus test for all sorts of old recruiting violation skeletons though. Maybe it gives Reggie the juice to become some sort of athlete activist, which God knows we need more now than ever. Regardless, the guy was an incredible football player, and for that, I’ll always be appreciative.