Reggie Bush has forfeited his Heisman Trophy before a committee could decide whether or not the New Orleans Saints running back should be stripped of the award.
Bush was deemed ineligble by the NCAA for the 2005 season due to gifts he received while a student at USC. The Heisman Trust was to meet later this month, reportedly to decide whether or not to strip him of the award.
Bush released the following statement through the New Orleans 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.
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!