9 Reasons Why Reggie Bush Should Keep His Heisman
Over the past few weeks, you couldn’t swing a dead virtual cat on the Internet without hitting a story on the Reggie Bush Heisman scandal/decision. Reports yesterday indicate that he will be stripped of his Heisman for the first time in the history of the award. Yes, he broke NCAA rules. Yes, he would have been ineligible.
But history and common sense dictate that he should keep his award, live with his media-anointed shame, and continue to underachieve for the world champion Saints. Let’s examine nine reasons why we should walk away from this whole thing as is.
1. His Violations Didn’t Affect His Play
The masses seem pretty comfortable assuming that Reggie is guilty of recruiting and payment violations during his time at USC, specifically during the his Heisman-awarded year. So let’s not discuss his guilt or innocence.
He was paid cash when he should have been playing for tuition, books, room, and board. This has absolutely no impact on his accomplishments on the field. He was the most exciting football player in the country his Heisman year. He set records and captivated crowds. USC would not have been the team they were during their championship run without him. Vince Young proved to be the more valuable weapon that January night when the two teams went head-to-head, but that’s irrelevant.
Bush was voted the most outstanding player in the country because of his accomplishments on the field. If the Heisman committee wants to start taking character into account, I think that’s silly, but fine. Let them. Just don’t let them change the criteria retroactively.
2. Who Cares?
Does the vacation of Bush’s Heisman serve anyone’s interest other than the Hesiman committee’s? Reggie will be out of the record books, but as point #1 demonstrates, he will still have been the most outstanding player that year, as voted on by the foremost authority in college football. This whole thing reeks of pretension on the part of the Heisman committee, who have made this entire decision a public spectacle to no one’s benefit. I don’t care if Bush’s trophy is kept in his New Orleans house, the New York Athletic club or a strip club in Prague.
3. No One Benefits
Aside from the punitive nature of stripping Bush of his Heisman, logic would dictate that this measure would be taken to recognize another player. That player would certainly be Vince Young. I’m guessing Vince could give two shits about whether or not he receives a retroactive honor from his Texas days due to the fact that the best player in the league was cruising around in someone else’s Escalade and gave his mom a place to live.
The above is moot, because the Heisman trust won’t award the trophy to Young should it get stripped. This is the philosophical equivalent of giving your friend a gift, finding out your friend was a dick, taking the gift back and smashing it on the ground, proclaiming, “Now no one gets it.” Petty and wasteful.
4. Do They Really Want That Trophy Back?
Pull his name from the record books, refuse to acknowledge him as a “Heisman winner,” but the Heisman trust probably doesn’t want that trophy back. You’ve seen what players do with the Stanley Cup in hockey. It’s pretty foul. And those guys are (generally) upstanding citizens. Now they want to take back a trophy from a man of dubious moral character? Why? So they can reuse it in a few months?
My guess is that bronze statue is caked in crust and white powder from God know’s what. Reggie lives in New Orleans! I can probably count the places that trophy HASN’T been on one hand. If every dollar bill in circulation contains trace amounts of cocaine, I’m guessing there’s at least a residual gram stuck to “the highest honor in college football”. Poor Jake Locker will be scrubbing that thing for weeks.
On a positive note, Reggie can always team up with OJ in twenty years to “go get his stuff back”. I hear OJ’s great at retrieving personal property. Which leads us to…
5. OJ Still Has His
Well, he did. It was seized to cover damages in the civil suit he lost for KILLING TWO PEOPLE. I think when “the highest honor in college football” gets seized in a civil suit for murder, that recipient should probably get stripped of recognition before Reggie. I know OJ’s transgression didn’t happen during college, BUT IT’S MURDER.
(side note: USC!!!! Producing upstanding graduates since 1880!)
6. Billy Cannon Still Has His
Ditto for this guy. He spent five years in prison for a counterfeiting operation. Reggie’s crime was victimless. Boosters wanted to pay Bush. Cannon was devaluing our nations currency through fraud. Let’s not lose perspective here, folks.
7. Billy Sims Still Has His
Double ditto for this guy. How sacred was the Heisman to Mr. Sims? So sacred that he sold it to cover personal debts. You want to talk about someone disrespecting the Heisman, let’s start and end with this guy. Reggie still has his. He didn’t bludgeon a Kardashian with it and he didn’t pawn it to score his next fix.
8. It’s His to Keep
You know what you call someone who gives you something, then takes it back later? No, not “Indian Giver”. That’s racist. You call them an asshole. Once the trophy is presented and accepted, it’s the recipient’s. Not “it’s the recipient’s pending further inquiry and investigation”. If I was Reggie, even if the award was vacated, I wouldn’t give it back. Hide it somewhere so you can appreciate it, a la Thomas Crown.
Taking back the Heisman creates a dangerous precedent. It’s a trophy, not the throne of England. No take backs. Even fourth graders have that level of decorum.
9. The Heisman Trust Isn’t Associated with the NCAA
Bush broke NCAA rules. His team was punished by the NCAA. As far as I know, the Heisman trust doesn’t have a pamphlet entitled, “How to Act to Warrant Consideration for the Heisman.”
If the Heisman committee isn’t going to hang other guys out to dry for violating federal and state laws, they shouldn’t be able to screw with a guy for violating college athletic rules. It’s not their jurisdiction. They have no jurisdiction. They’re a glorified prize committee and need to know their role.