Last September, former USC running back Reggie Bush publicly relinquished his title as the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner. But careful inspection of the exacts words of his press release reveals no clear commitment to actually hand the hardware back to the Heisman Trust.
Regardless of whether Bush has been relying on some sort of goofy, self-serving loophole, the fact remains that Bush has yet to pack the prize in foam peanuts and send it back to New York City. It now appears that Bush could be moving a step closer to taking care of that specific piece of business.
Paul Pabst of The Dan Patrick Show, who is working the story even while the guys are on vacation (I’ll be back in the chair on Thursday), reports that the Bush family has recovered the trophy from the San Diego Hall of Champions, which previously had planned to display the thing.
“The San Diego Hall of Champions [on Friday] returned Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy to the Bush family,” the group said in a statement released to Pabst. “In doing so, the organization feels it is best to direct any further questions to the Bush family or the Heisman Trust.”
Pabst also reports that, last week, the Heisman Trust contacted both Bush and the Hall of Champions to request that the trophy finally be returned.
Two possible explanations exist for the transfer back to Bush’s family. First, Bush plans to finally return the thing, and he decided that it made more sense to come directly from him. Second, the Hall of Champions decided they didn’t want to be in the middle of this one, and thus they handed it over to wash their hands of it.
If it’s the former, it makes plenty of sense. The allegations that ultimately resulted in the current conundrum first arose days before the 2006 draft. No matter what the Texans have said after the fact, Bush’s handling of the situation contributed to the team’s decision not to make him the top pick that year. With Bush back at a critical juncture of his career, as the Saints try to decide how much of an $11.8 million salary should be offered for 2011, it makes no sense to allow his marketability to be undermined by a fresh question as to his honesty and trustworthiness.
Put simply, Bush gave up the title, but he apparently has tried to avoid giving up the trophy. With the media focusing aggressively on the situation (thanks to guys like Pabst and Brooks of SportsByBrooks.com), Bush apparently is realizing that his effort to apply the Heisman stiff arm to the Heisman Trust could end up being an albatross around his neck.