Posted by Adam Jacobi
Give Reggie Bush credit: he's willing to go to enormous lengths to not admit the obvious. Here are the facts: the USC football program is on probation for this first of four years, dealing with a 2-year postseason ban, saw 14 wins and a national title vacated, and working through a 30-scholarship reduction. Former local demigod Pete Carroll had to flee in terror, leaving the program in the hands of human oddity Lane Kiffin. And now Bush doesn't even have his Heisman Trophy, abdicating the honor for the first time in the 75-year history of the award. Surely, surely, this is enough to convince Reggie Bush to come clean about the improper benefits he received as a Trojan, right?
"It's definitely not an admission of guilt. It's me showing respect to the Heisman Trophy itself and to the people who came before me and the people coming after," Bush said after practice with the New Orleans Saints.
"I just felt like it was the best thing to do, the most respectful thing to do because obviously I do respect the Heisman, I do respect all the things it stands for," Bush said. "I felt just to kind of silence all the talk around it, all the negativity around it. I felt like this would be the best decision to do right now so I could focus."
Take that statement, and then try to reconcile it with Bush's press release from earlier in the week when he gave up the trophy:
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.
I would like to [...] establish an educational program which will assist student-athletes and their families avoid some of the mistakes that I made.
So. Bush admits making mistakes en route to receiving so much negative media attention that he can't, in good conscience, keep the Heisman... but he also refuses to say whether those mistakes have anything to do with the investigation at USC.
The message, as best as we can suss it out from Bush's logic, is that his mistake was receiving media attention in the first place. While from a strictly Socratic standpoint that may be true, he received media attention by being really good at college football, and we're not sure the Heisman Trust is going to be much of a fan of Bush's educational program if that's the only type of mistake he's ever going to cop to.