On the same day that the Heisman Trophy Trust conducted its monthly meeting, the 2005 winner of the award for which the trust is named announced that he will give up the prize.
The move comes at a time when Yahoo! Sports reported that the Heisman
Trophy Trust would decide to strip the award from Bush. The chronology
permits an inference that the Heisman Trophy Trust decided to take the
award away, and that they gave Bush a chance to surrender it first.
But Bush was strident, not contrite, in relinquishing the prize. For more, here’s the full content of his comments, with some of our thoughts interspersed were appropriate.
“One of the greatest honors of my life was winning the Heisman Trophy in
2005. For me, it was a dream come true,” Bush said in a statement released by the Saints. “But I know that the Heisman is not mine alone. Far from it. I know that
my victory was made possible by the discipline and hard work of my
teammates, the steady guidance of my coaches, the inspiration of the
fans, and the unconditional love of my family and friends. And I know
that any young man fortunate enough to win the Heisman enters into a
family of sorts. 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. 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. Nor should it distract from
outstanding performances and hard-earned achievements either in the
past, present or future.”
So, in other words, Bush is giving it back not because he did anything wrong, but because “persistent media speculation” has undermined the “dignity of the award.”
“For the rest of my days,” Bush added, “I will continue to strive to demonstrate
through my actions and words that I was deserving of the confidence
placed in me by the Heisman Trophy Trust. I would like to begin in this
effort by turning a negative situation into a positive one by working
with the Trustees to establish an educational program which will assist
student-athletes and their families avoid some of the mistakes that I
made. I am determined to view this event as an opportunity to help
others and to advance the values and mission of the Heisman Trophy
And there it is. For the first time, and after years of blunt denials, Bush has admitted that he made “mistakes,” the biggest of which was to take money and other things of value from a prospective marketing agency and then fail to pay any of it back when deciding not to hire the agency in question.
“I will forever appreciate the honor bestowed upon me as a winner of the
Heisman,” Bush said. “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.”
Regardless of the words used by Bush, the end result is that he’s giving up the Heisman, he’s blaming “persistent media speculation” about the situation for the move, and he’s finally admitting that he made “mistakes.”