USC trying to clean up image, starts by throwing out Bush’s Heisman

December 03, 2005 - Los Angeles, CA..USC's Reggie Bush #5 runs in action against UCLA...USC defeats the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. USC won the game 66-19..Photo Louis Lopez Photo via Newscom

A day after helping Mike Garrett with his retirement decision (that’s a nice way of saying they gave him the boot) and replacing him with new athletic director Pat Haden, USC returned its copy of the Heisman Trophy that former running back Reggie Bush won in 2005.

From ESPN.com:

The university’s incoming president announced an overhaul of the athletic department Tuesday, replacing athletic director Mike Garrett with Pat Haden, ordering the removal of displays honoring Bush’s and Mayo’s accomplishments at USC and returning its copy of Bush’s Heisman.

Haden said the school’s plan to get rid of nearly all references to Bush and Mayo — right down to scrubbing their images from school murals and removing Bush’s No. 5 jersey in its place of honor in the lobby of Heritage Hall — are all part of the NCAA’s directive to disassociate the school from the athletes.

It’s important to note that Bush is still in possession of the original Heisman, which is given out by the Downtown Athletic Club and the Heisman Trust. Outside of the fact that it’s given to a college player, the NCAA has no barring on who receives the award and therefore, whether or not one should be taken away.

Some may question why USC didn’t get rid of O.J. Simpson’s Heisman after he murdered two people all of his legal troubles, but don’t forget that his trial in the early 90s was nearly 30 years after he donned a Trojan uniform. Plus, everything that coconut did after his playing days had no affect on what he did on the field at USC.

Bush, on the other hand, is a different story. He directly played a role in USC receiving a two-year bowl ban and I can’t blame the university for wanting to scrub his name from its memory. Their message is clear: We’re moving on.

If this is USC’s way of embarrassing Bush, then so be it. He deserves it. I realize he was only a kid and kids are easily persuaded, but he still knew right from wrong. He still made the conscious decision to put himself ahead of the program.

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