The Trojans have an array of current NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) sanctions that have been slapped on them for all the dirty business they had going on during their dynasty earlier this decade. Specifically, Reggie Bush and his family were pegged as having taken benefits from some raggedy sports management agency that is not even in business anymore. Just to refresh any rusty memories, Reggie Bush, now with the Superbowl Champion New Orleans Saints, was one of the most amazing college football players of all-time during his years at USC from 2003-2005. The easiest comparison that came to my mind during those years of witnessing Bush’s greatness was to the highlights of former Chicago Bears great Gale Sayers. Sayers was the closest thing to poetry on a football field, and watching Bush seemed effortlessly on par with those highlights. I’m sure that those who witnessed Sayers in real time would have some greater elaboration to explain the difference between the two, but my tendency is to give a respectful bow to the original masters anyway. It was probably only the fact that Sayers played football for a basketball powerhouse, the University of Kansas, that prevented him from earning a Heisman Trophy himself (awarded to the best college football player of each given year since 1935).
Now like many of the former sports greats from the middle of the 20th century, there is a certain air of dignity and moral greatness that oozes from the image of a Gale Sayers or Bill Russell (although we have Babe Ruth and Wilt Chamberlain). Likely, a lot of the moral image extends from the struggles of civil rights, which laid the groundwork for players such as Reggie Bush to be able to bask in the glory of love from an entire society, and not come home to poop on the doorstep, or crosses burning in the front yard; regardless of the crowd’s unbridled cheers only hours before.
Reggie Bush could not only bask in the glory from a much more equal – but far from equal – society, but he could do it with Snoop Dogg, Will Ferrell, and about every other halfway cool person in Los Angeles…and the nerds, too. You see, Los Angeles doesn’t have a professional football team. They only have the 16-timeWorld Champion Los Angeles Lakers (pause for a moment while I do my Laker dance to the tune of Snoop’s “Doggy Dogg World”, and then Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.”). Sure, the Lakers are more than enough for a city to celebrate, but naturally humans always want more. So the USC Trojans are the Los Angeles version of a professional football team, and when you are the king of a successful USC Trojan Football team, you, in essence, are the King of L.A.; behind Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and probably even Kurt Rambis, and Lakers trainer Gary Vitti; but you can hang with Snoop, and who wouldn’t love Kurt Rambis more anyway.
I would imagine that Bush could sit in one of Snoop’s 1964 Impalas, and step out of the car feeling a little heavy, only to realize that a $1,000 bill somehow was stuck to his shoe like a strip of toilet paper. I would imagine Bush could have stumbled on a lot of finely milled toilet paper like that. I certainly don’t recommend any collegiate player operating dishonestly, but until they start paying the young men and women that bring these universities billions of dollars, you won’t hear me participate or tattle-tail. As an innocent bye-standard seeing someone with some form of toilet tissue stuck on his or her shoe, all I would say is, “You’ve got something on your shoe homie.”
It’s certainly not all Bush’s fault, because it was a systemic issue at USC during that time. But if you knew what those athletes get for a per diem when traveling, and the waterfall of free shoes, clothing, and food they get legitimately through the school…well, you might think that middle-class young Reggie Bush was a fool for taking loads of money from a jack-legged sports management agency. So when the powers that be say that Bush must give back his Heisman Trophy, I say thumbs-up. Because if you can’t honestly cash-in on the level of favoritism Bush had in the center of L.A. and Hollywood, then you are being really, reeeally stupid. I also say shame on Bush’s family. Greed’s gonna’ get’cha. Just ask BP.