Forty-three years after he was convicted of felony larceny for his role in an armed robbery, 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers is seeking a pardon from the state of Nebraska.
On Thursday he’ll go before the state’s Board of Pardons and ask to have his conviction pardoned. He is eligible to be granted the pardon because at least 10 years have passed without any convictions or law enforcement issues by the former Cornhusker.
Rodgers and a couple of his buddies robbed a Lincoln, Neb., gas station in 1970, near the end of his freshman year. They got away with $90, which they split three ways. Two years later, Rodgers won the school’s first Heisman Trophy.
Rodgers went on to earn two degrees from his alma mater, in journalism and advertising. But the stigma of being an ex-felon has been a burden on him all this time.
“I have a history of 43 years now of rather decent things happening,” Rodgers said. “I’ve done and accomplished more things after I had a felony charge than most people ever do.”
Rodgers is getting support in his pardon effort from former Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne, who was Rodgers’ position coach at the time. Osborne wrote to the Pardons Board on his behalf.
“He has done many good things the last 40 years,” Osborne said, noting Rodgers’ work with charities and youth.