Reggie Bush made history this week — but this time the NFL hunk’s garnering headlines that have nothing to do with his performance on the field.
On Tuesday, the New Orleans Saints running back, 25, released a statement announcing that he is giving back the Heisman Trophy he won as a tailback for the University of Southern California in 2005.
It’s the first time college football’s top award has been returned by a recipient.
The San Diego native has been seeped in controversy over the coveted prize for months. Over the summer, Bush’s alma mater was hit with heavy sanctions by the NCAA after it determined that Bush had received improper benefits during his time at the respected institution. The NCAA ruled that Bush was ineligible for the 2005 season, which opened the possibility that the Heisman Trophy Trust would take back the award. One of the few guidelines given to Heisman Trophy voters is that a player must be in compliance with NCAA rules to be eligible for the trophy.
“Each individual carries the legacy of the award and each one is entrusted with its good name … It is for these reasons that I have made the difficult decision to forfeit my title as Heisman winner of 2005,” a reflective Bush said in a statement issued this week. “The persistent media speculation regarding allegations dating back to my years at USC has been both painful and distracting. In no way should the storm around these allegations reflect in any way on the dignity of this award, nor on any other institutions or individuals.”
“While this decision is heartbreaking, 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.”
There was no immediate word from the New York based Heisman Trust if the award would be vacated or given to University Texas quarterback Vince Young. Bush won in a landslide over Young — who is now quarterback of the Tennessee Titans.
Question of the Week: Now that Reggie Bush has opted to forfeit his Heisman Trophy, should the trophy be given to Vince Young?