After months of reports about whether he will or won’t, and plenty of ink spilled over whether he should or shouldn’t, Reggie Bush has taken the decision out of the hands of the Heisman Trust and done what many thought he should’ve a long time ago.
Stripped himself of the Heisman Trophy.
According to Jason LaConfora of the NFL Network, Bush has announced he has forfeited his copy of the 2005 stiff-armed hardware.
“While this decision is heart-breaking, I find solace in knowing that the award was made possible by the support and love of so many. Those are gifts that can never be taken away,” Bush said in a statement.
(For the complete text of Bush’s statement, click HERE.)
The Heisman Trust was scheduled to meet Tuesday in a regularly-scheduled meeting, although reports Monday indicated that no decision on Bush’s trophy was imminent.
With Bush’s decision to hand over the trophy, there’s no word yet on what the trust will do regarding a 2005 winner, although previous reports have indicated — sorry, VY — that the award will be vacated instead of given to another player.
USC had already returned its copy of Bush’s Heisman in the wake of historic sanctions levied on the Trojans football program. The stiff sanctions were a result of the NCAA finding Bush had received in the neighborhood of $300,000 in illegal benefits from would-be marketers while a member of the football program.
Additionally, Bush was declared retroactively ineligible for the Trojans’ 2004 bowl game plus his Heisman-winning season 2005 season for being found to have accepted the illegal benefits. Based on the Heisman’s bylaws that a student-athlete must be in good standing in order to qualify for the award, it made his ’05 Heisman a potential — and legitimate — target.
While some may disagree with Bush’s decision to voluntarily relinquish the trophy, it was the right thing for the current New Orleans Saints running back to do, if for nothing more than to save himself the potential embarrassment of being very publicly stripped of the honor by the trust.
Other than the fact that, you know, Bush was the one responsible for this whole mess in the first place and should be contrite and apologetic and everything else he hasn’t been until this very day.
UPDATED 5:32 p.m. ET: Now that Bush has voluntarily stripped himself of the 2005 Heisman, what should be done with that year’s reward? Vote HERE to get that voice heard.