Bush Betrays Heisman Trust, Won’t Return Trophy

On June 7 Dan Patrick Show Executive Producer Paul Pabst reported that nine months after the Heisman Trophy Trust decided to cancel Reggie Bush’s 2005 award, the former USC running back had not yet returned the actual trophy.

During those nine months, Pabst also noted that Heisman Trophy Trust officials had repeatedly contacted Reggie Bush’s agent Joel Segal in a bid to have the trophy returned, with a Heisman Trust source telling Pabst, “the whole world reasonably expected him to return it.

On June 9, Pabst reported that Bush stepfather Lamar Griffin and mother Denise Griffin had “loaned” the Heisman Trophy to the San Diego Hall of Champions on March 22.

SDHOC Vice President Angela LaChica told Pabst at that time, “We’ve had it here the past two months, since March 22, but we never displayed it. Some of our employees didn’t even know we had it.

On June 9, James Varney of the NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE reported:

While the (SDHOC) museum has not been displaying the Heisman while its exhibits are remodeled, she (LaChica) said the trophy remains in its collection. Talks with Bush and members of his immediate family are under way for the return of the trophy, LaChica said.

I can confirm that as of Wednesday evening, Bush’s Heisman Trophy remains in storage at the San Diego Hall of Champions, despite the fact that Bush was actually in San Diego last weekend to host an extremely low-profile football camp bearing his name and appear at a cancer research benefit.

A source close to Bush told me late Wednesday that the NFL running back, his stepfather and mother also ran into SD Hall of Champions executive LaChica at an event during Bush’s brief San Diego stay, but that the SDHOC was no closer to returning the Heisman Trophy to Bush or his family.


The same source said Bush has decided he will not return the Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trophy Trust.

I was told Bush and the Griffins “loaned” the trophy to the San Diego Hall of Champions to get it off their hands for the time being, treating the local museum as a safe deposit box of sorts. When Bush’s disgraced reputation eventually fades from everyday life, which if Bush’s recent, media-free SD weekend was any indication may have already happened, the Griffins will retake personal possession of the sacred bronze object to do with it what they please.

So when Bush acknowledged what was obviously a forced forfeiture of his 2005 Heisman Trophy, we now know it was absolutely no coincidence that the ex-USC football player released a carefully-crafted statement through his agent Joel Segal that gave no indication that the now-disgraced former Trojan would actually honor the Heisman Trophy Trust’s subsequent, repeated requests for him to return the trophy itself:

For Immediate Release: September 14, 2010

One of the greatest honors of my life was winning the Heisman Trophy in 2005. For me, it was a dream come true.

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.

For the rest of my days, 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 Trust.

I will forever appreciate the honor bestowed upon me as a winner of the Heisman. 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.

On Sept. 16, 2010, two days after he released the above statement, Bush said his stepfather Lamar Griffin and mother Denise Griffin did not want him to return the Heisman Trophy:

“Mostly everybody didn’t agree with me … My mom and dad didn’t want me to give it back. But that’s just the motherly and fatherly nature of parents. But they understand at the end of the day. They understand that I am a grown man, and I’ve got to make my own decisions. This is a learning experience for me and for anybody else coming after me. All I can do is grow stronger from here and just focus on this football season.”

The same “motherly and fatherly nature” of Bush’s parents produced an extreme set of major NCAA violations that buried the USC football program with the worst NCAA sanctions seen since the SMU football program was dealt the Death Penalty in 1986.

The same “motherly and fatherly nature” that has now caused a “grown man” who Bush claimed in 2010 “makes his own decisions” to apparently have a change of heart about returning the Heisman Trophy.

Or if his official statement is to be believed, perhaps Bush never had any intention of returning the Heisman Trophy.

More Bush from Sept. 16, 2010:

“This is just a part of growing pains and learning and becoming more mature. You learn, you grow, you get better, you get stronger. And hopefully you never make those mistakes again.”


Moments earlier during the same impromptu press conference, Bush said of returning the Heisman Trophy:

“This is definitely not an admission of guilt.”

Bush is nothing if not consistent.

After hiding from NCAA investigators for three years, in an interview with the NCAA in 2009 Bush reportedlydenied that he and his family took nearly $300,000 in extra benefits during his sophomore and junior seasons at USC.

On Page 2 of the NCAA’s June 10, 2010, University of Southern California Public Infractions Report that dropped crippling sanctions on Bush’s former USC football program, the NCAA documented the lack of cooperation in its investigation of USC by Bush’s stepfather Lamar Griffin, Bush’s mother Denise Griffin and Bush himself:

“[This case] is incomplete because a number of key witnesses, including the athlete at the center of these allegations [Bush], refused to cooperate in whole or sufficient measure.

“In addition, the family of student-athlete 1 [Bush], whose actions were at the center of this investigation, refused to cooperate. Nevertheless, credible evidence was produced and corroborated, which supported the allegations that student-athlete 1 [Bush] and his family and friends and his associates took benefits from professional sports agents and/or persons who acted on behalf of these agents. In the case of student-athlete 1 [Bush], he, his family and friends received benefits valued at many thousands of dollars.”

Thanks to documents, receipts, audio tapes and on-the-record interviews, the NCAA irrefutably verified that not only did Bush and stepfather Lamar Griffin accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits, but that both actively sought out those benefits and did all they could to keep their improper deals secret.

It is also now confirmed on-the-record that had Bush paid back the $300,000 he stole from San Diego-based marketing agent Lloyd Lake, the marketing agent would’ve never contacted Yahoo Sports and the NCAA.

And USC’s NCAA problems would have never existed.

On June 7, 2011, Dan Patrick Show Executive Producer Paul Pabst reported of Bush’s refusal to return the Heisman Trophy:

The source at the Heisman Trophy Trust told us that there was no specific agreement with Reggie Bush to return the trophy, but that it was “alluded to in Reggie’s statement and the whole world reasonably expected him to return it.”

The Heisman Trust source added that they had been in touch with Bush’s agent “more than once” about the status of returning the trophy. Also, Bush would not even have to pay for shipping. The Heisman Trust would send him a case for the Heisman Trophy, with shipping paid for.

On Sept. 6, 2006, Reggie Bush appeared on HBO for an interview with Bob Costas and said of rampant allegations that he and his family committed a single NCAA violation:

“We’re completely innocent in this whole thing. As I said from the get-go, once everything comes out everyone will see that we didn’t do anything and that we’re actually the victims here.”

Since Bush will never be held remotely accountable to societal rules you and I are required to follow, it turns out Bush was indeed right all along.

Brooks is on Facebook and Twitter.

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