In 1972, Nebraska’s Johnny Rodgers won the Heisman Trophy, but 41 years later, he is still trying to shake off the stigma associated with a mistake he made two years before winning the award.
Rodgers is seeking a pardon from the state of Nebraska for his role in a 1970 armed robbery in which he was convicted of a felony larceny charge. Rodgers and a few friends came up with a plan to rob a Lincoln gas station near the end of his freshman year. They got away with $90 in an incident Rodgers described as “10 minutes of insanity.” He was sentenced to two years of probation.
Rodgers is eligible for the pardon because at least 10 years have passed without any law enforcement issues for the former Cornhusker, and he will go before the state’s Board of Pardons Thursday.
Rodgers went on to earn two degrees from Nebraska in journalism and advertising, but the “ex-felon” stigma remained a burden on him all these years.
“I have a history of 43 years now of rather decent things happening,” Rodgers said. “I’ve done and accomplished more things after I had a felony charge than most people ever do.”
Legendary Cornhuskers head coach Tom Osborne wrote to the Pardons Board on Rodgers’ behalf, noting his work with charities and youth.
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