The bestowing of honors is at best a tricky proposition. From the early Romans to the Downtown Athletic Club, the same issue creeps in; can the recipient represent the award and those who have their names linked with it.
Reggie Bush reignited the debate after reports surfaced of tapes implicating Bush in a gifts scandal. The rule is simple by NCAA standards. No player can accept gifts while a student athlete. Yet, it seems the simple rules are most often violated.
The Heisman Trophy goes to the most popular player among the voters rather than the best player in all of college football. Traditionally those winning the Heisman have not fared well at the next level but winning it assures a player and his school of tremendous marketing opportunities. USC coveted the award for Bush as much as Bush sought to receive it.
Bush is a good professional football player. It is likely, barring injury, he will be great prior to his retirement, but his actions could cost USC. Theoretically, the university can be stripped of its National Titles but that is not going to occur. As the only college on the West Coast with a monster reputation USC is the fair-haired lad among NCAA brass.
What about Bush? Little can be done to affect him now except exposing his deceitfulness since he has denied the gifts allegations since the first report surface some time ago. Dullards contend Bush doesn’t care because he’s getting paid. The problem is how advertisers look at someone caught out as a cheater and liar. The mood is souring over athletes being given preferential treatment and everyday another writer or public figure takes a swipe at professional sports. Advertisers do not like negative images.
Finally, and most importantly, we are left with Reggie Bush. As an athlete and performer, he is gifted physically. As a man, or role model for a young boy aspiring to athletic greatness, Bush is on the bubble. Receiving the Heisman was great but at what cost.