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Reggie Bush forfeits Heisman Trophy

Updated at 6:49 p.m.

Reggie Bush will not wait for the Heisman Trophy Trust to decide whether to strip him of the 2005 award. The New Orleans Saints running back announced that he is forfeiting the award, becoming the first Heisman winner to do so.

Bush announced his decision in a statement released by the Saints, then tweeted about it.

Via Twitter, he said:

Just want to thank everyone for their support throughout this tough time. This has been a hard decision for me today but I feel it's right.

I hope that kids and upcoming youth can look at me and use this story as an example and learning tool. Challenges are a part of life.

But the key is to never allow your faults or mistakes to define you, yet use them as an opportunity to mature and grow to become better!

Now that this is behind me I look forward to the future and winning more awards and championships here in New Orleans! Who Dat!

The NCAA ruled Bush ineligible for the 2005 season because of gifts he received while a USC student and his decision to forfeit the award may be a pre-emptory move. The Heisman Trust was to hold its monthly meeting tonight and reportedly has been considering whether to strip Bush of the award.

Bush's statement, released by the Saints:

"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."

More headlines

Life is different at USC since NCAA ruling on violations.

Q and A with Steve Yanda on USC sanctions.

Timeline of Bush, USC investigations.

By Cindy Boren  |  September 14, 2010; 4:44 PM ET
Categories:  College football  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Clinton Portis apologizes for comments about Ines Sainz, women reporters
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This is both commendable and admirable. Hopefully, the posts after this one will be just as positive.

Posted by: Supporter51 | September 14, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

You still won it! History can not change the fact that your skills are the reason not your actions off the field. As a student athlete I agree with your gesture. Though you will always carry the dominance on the field throughout your years at SC. Nothing will change that.

Posted by: dorklord | September 14, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

A forfeit looks better than having it stripped...and it would have been stripped...

Posted by: jcard14 | September 14, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Who wrote this nonsense for him?

Posted by: sufi66 | September 14, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Paul Hornung was suspended from football indefinitely by commissioner Pete Rozelle for betting on NFL games and associating with undesirable persons. Forthright in admitting to his mistake, Hornung's image went relatively untarnished.

But Reggie Bush gives up his Heisman Trophy willingly.

I guess race, privilege and social status has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | September 14, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the old quit before I am fired move.. Had Reggie just paid the criminal he was in cohoots with during his days at USC once he made it to the NFL, none of this would not have happened. But he tried to be Clay Davis and this time Stringer Bell got even..

Posted by: bigceedee | September 14, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

An amazingly class statement....

Posted by: JPMcC | September 14, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

This is very sad to me.

Colleges make millions and millions off of these kids and they see none of it.

It really is a shame.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | September 14, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Reggie Bush is a class act!

Posted by: janet8 | September 14, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

There is no way Bush wrote this. No way.

He went to USC, ostensibly on a football scholarship enhanced by some under-the-table financial incentives.

Posted by: tgarner444 | September 14, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I am glad he gave it back. Good statement. Now close this story.

Posted by: sbeck1 | September 14, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Now, if the other Bush (W.) would only forfeit his ill-gotten Presidency in retrospect!

Posted by: kblgca | September 14, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Those that back Bush will believe this. Those that don't, won't. I personally believe that he didn't want to go down in history as having the award taken from him.

This is an example of an athelete taking advantage of a university, not the other way around. He has shamed those who gave his this great opportunity and helped him win the award.

Posted by: jayclapp | September 14, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Ban all scholarships for all sports to all colleges and force the pros to develope their own farm teams like baseball.

Posted by: tniederberger | September 14, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Is there some way this trophy could now be at least footnoted (if not actually awarded) as the rightful property of Vince Young who finished second to Bush in the voting? Or might that open another dusty can of NCAA worms sleeping quietly in the cellar of secrets? js.

Posted by: simondsj001 | September 14, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Cheaters never win.

Vince Yound shoulda won it that year anyways.

Posted by: lingering_lead | September 14, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Did I see the word "pre-emptory" near the end of this article? Where are the copy editors? Even if preemptory was a word, its derivation from preemption would never allow the hyphen. The reporter should give back his Heisman.

Posted by: David40 | September 14, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

My God some folks are calling Reggie classy. Have they not been paying attention. Reggie's lack of class and lack of honesty and lack of good moral fiber are what has dragged this out for so long. If he were truly classy, he would've owned up to his mistakes without forcing Mike Garrett and the University to defend the indefensible. He's a liar, pure and simple.

I will say, that Fresno State game in November, 2005 was a nice one for him with over 500 all purpose yards. Too bad he was ineligible to play in it.

Posted by: lingering_lead | September 14, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe the number of people calling this statement a "class act." In a written statement (prepared by his media handlers) Bush gives up an award that was about to be forcably stripped away from him. In doing so, he does not admit to any wrongdoing or apologize to his former college team (which is now struggling against harsh sanctions) or the thousands of other college football players on other teams that played by the rules. Instead, he calls accepting thousands of dollars from a former felon-turned-agent, merely a "mistake." It is the "persistent media speculation regarding allegations dating back to my years at USC" that is the real problem in Mr. Bush's eyes. This is not demonstrating strong character, but rather a continued willingness to say and do anything to protect his paycheck.

Posted by: GSS1 | September 14, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

He gave it back. End of story. But will USC give back its earnings during that season and others for bowl appearances and national championships while he played there? If he was accepting money that year he was probably excepting it the year before when they won the national championship. Hey reggie you won it with your play on the field although it could have just as easily went to Vince. I agree with that one poster who said he should have just paid the shady guy who told on him off. Like I am sure a lot of Heisman winners had to do. You think marcus allen or Billy Sims did not get some under the table perks while playing college ball?

Posted by: ged0386 | September 14, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Cheaters never win.

Vince Yound shoulda won it that year anyways.

Posted by: lingering_lead |

What world do you live in? Cheaters win all the time.

Posted by: ged0386 | September 14, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

YOu want to talk race, how about the poopstorm that would ensue if the runner up that year were a white collegian?

Please, it's not all about race. He took gifts he shouldn't have for a variety of reasons.

He showed a lot of class giving it back, and acknowledging his mistakes. Let it go.

Posted by: jiboo | September 14, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Another cheater in sports? Shocker!

Posted by: beenthere3 | September 14, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

...and I find it absolutely comical that the weakly non-athletic WASAMI earthling strives so hard to take away what he has given the gifted black man, just as he did with the forty acres and a mule...

...and it is only right to strip the earthling competitor Herman 'Babe' Ruth of all his awards as they were all garnered when black athletes were barred from competition...

...and had black athletes been able to play with the 'Babe' Ruth, then Ruth would no doubt have not even made the team...

...thus strip the 'Babe' Ruth of his trophies as well... is only fair... has been written...

Posted by: moon-base-alpha | September 14, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Who among the other winners were clean?

Posted by: rusty3 | September 14, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

moon-base... you just know the Babe had a little black in him.

Posted by: lingering_lead | September 14, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

What Bush is really saying is that he doesn't need a Heisman. Many "rules" imposed on athletes, whether at the amateur or professional level, don't warrant respect. Often, the more rules there are, the less important each one becomes, especially when directed toward proscribing that which might qualify as a reasonable activity.

Posted by: NJJACK | September 14, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Who among the other winners were clean?

Posted by: rusty3 | September 14, 2010
I would be willing to bet that Barry Sanders was clean. Nobdy knew who he was until he won the Heisman in 1988. Oklahoma State University barely knew who he was. It wasn't until half way through the season that OSU started pushing him as a Heismann candidate.

Posted by: wapocensorsbite | September 14, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Long ago a New York Daily News sports writer named Paul Gallico wrote a book entitled 'Farewell to Sports' after he resigned from the News. The book was a series of essays. One of them was entitled "College Football . . the Last Stronghold of Hypocrisy"



Posted by: rmkraus | September 14, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Bush shoulda tweeted "take it from my cold, dead hands." the NCAA cheats these athletes out of millions.

Posted by: tysonsara1 | September 14, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Bush had to give up his award, so what did the coaches and administrators who allowed the problem to develop in the first place give up?


Posted by: wj_phillips | September 14, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

What Bush is really saying is he would rather pose in an attempt to appear noble rather than be exposed as a cheater and a cad.

I suppose one could argue that his cheating did not affect his performance and thus did not affect his Heisman election.

But the truth is there is another athlete who didn't cheat that year who deserved the Heisman Trophy, who deserved a high pick in the draft and a large contract. They didn't get any of that because Bush cheated them out of it.

I think people like Carrol and Bush should be banned from sports for life. Through their cheating they destroyed a lot of dreams.

And frankly this is why I no longer have interest in college sports. These teams are basically farm teams for the pros.

They ought to sever their connection from colleges so we no longer have to hear the lies about "student athletes" or the absurdity of "true freshman"; and the players will get paid for putting their health at risk.

Posted by: krankyman | September 14, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

He broke the rules and was ineligible and therefore should never have one it in the first place.

Posted by: stormryan | September 14, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse


Oh. It's MONEY, Honey.

Money for the nascent talent to COME HERE, PLAY FOR US so that WE can have FUN at the GAMES!


Posted by: wapoexile1 | September 15, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

what a load of BS!!!

Posted by: dc4life | September 15, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

It's always the students who suffer. Never the coach or boosters.

Whatever money he accepted he was still the best player and Heisman or not that's what most people will remember. How many remember the Miss America that replaced Vanessa Williams?

Posted by: rlj1 | September 15, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I noticed all my MALE friends used the same excuse as a poster here "Colleges make millions off these ath so go Reggie!" Remember in LeBron's movie he got into the same trouble. As a mother of a MD hs student ath of the yr (07 thank you) the fact my baby used her ath talent to grad with NO DEBT is enough for me. If she needs funds for incidentals SHE CALLS ME not an agent!

She's in the same boat as other college students who struggle and don't have agents beating down their doors to inflate their egoes. These students GET JOBS if they don't have parental financial help. Her college is listed as one that makes trillions off athletes but I still don't think she should be paid as an athlete. I'd like to see more scholly's or increased benefits for the aths. That edu is enough for me.....I'm sooooo proud of her!!!

Reggie: I personally don't think the Heisman should be stripped after hearing Kirk Herbstreit describe Vince Young's jealous actions at the BCS game!!! Funny karma hit his NFL career???? Everyone knows you weren't the best Vince if trophy is handed to you! Most Heisman winners don't make it at the next level (ask Troy Smith is he satisfied?) but you have a SB ring to show you DESERVED that trophy. Like you said work with other kids in college who might have financial struggles and make this right....

Posted by: MDlady2 | September 15, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

oh lets not forget the GREEDY parents who encourage their children to break the rules so they can live off of them. I've seen it too often. What did Bianca Knight's (U of Texas) mother say in an interview when her daughter broke the NCAA rec then SNEAKED and signed with an agent "I got bills to pay and she knows it!" Sad sad sad....

Posted by: MDlady2 | September 15, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse


Why is it always one blogger who has to take an issue too far? Why should Bush be banned from playing sports for life because he took a few perks while in college? What does college sports have to do with his professional career? Thats kind of like saying any student that cheated on a midterm during their sophomore years should be banned from their career practice for life. Have you ever got a little help in college? If soo please quit your job right now because you are a cheater and should be banned for life according to your own set of standards. Oh, the morally righteous blogger. Never did anything wrong in his life.

Posted by: ged0386 | September 15, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse


How much money did your daughter make for Maryland? How many stadium seats did she fill. How many days did she have to do two a day practices and study? How many hits did she take to her body by a 250 linebacker every saturday for 11 weeks. Your daughter is not reggie bush, no disrespect to her or you. There is a reason why athletes get a free scholarship. Its because they are doing more for that school than you daughter did.

Posted by: ged0386 | September 15, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

USC & Reggie Bush both profitted from each other.

USC sold millions of dollars in #5 jerseys, season tickets, advertisment space thanks in part to Bush.

Bush received movie star status and became a professional athlete while in college.

The videos still prove he was the best player in 2005.

Posted by: dodgertown | September 16, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

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