July 01, 2011
In the last episode of the True Adventures of Reggie Bush's Heisman, our intrepid hunk of bronze unexpectedly turned up in the bowels of a San Diego museum, where it was being held temporarily until Bush or his family could swing by to pick it up. It was a cliffhanger: Would the trophy fall back into the clutches of its now disgraced owner? Would Bush fulfill his nearly year-old promise to ship the trophy back to the Heisman Trust in New York in atonement for improper benefits he and his family received from would-be agents throughout the 2005 season? Would the Trust, having already stripped Bush's name from the official record, intercede to rescue the trophy itself? Would we be treated to a surprise guest appearance by a certain troublemaking ex-Trojan and his unique brand of drama?
Well … uh, tune in again next week for the exciting answers to these questions and more. Because for now, according to the museum's president, it looks like the trophy is going to be there for a while:
Speaking on KLSD-AM in San Diego, Al Kidd of the San Diego Hall of Champions clarified the plan to show the statue Bush won before he was found by the NCAA to have received impermissible benefits during his career at South California.
"Many months ago we did take possession of his Heisman Trophy and it was after having had a discussion with the Heisman Trust," Kidd said. "They didn't have necessarily any interest one way or another in receiving the trophy back. Reggie donated it to the Hall in the form of a loan and we have every intention of putting it on display.
"The Heisman Trust knows it's here … they've not asked for it back. They've told us in fact it's of no consequence to them at this point. We've had direct conversations with them and they know it's here and they've never asked us to return it. ... We don't see any controversy with this whatsoever."
Kidd told the San Diego Union-Tribune Thursday that the Hall of Champions has an agreement with the family that allows Bush, his mother or his stepfather to reclaim the trophy whenever they like: "Lamar, Denise and Reggie can come pick it up at any time." But the museum does not own the trophy and can't hand it over to the Trust even if the Trust was interested in reclaiming it — which, apparently, it is not.
Thus does Reggie Bush's Heisman become an orphan: Neglected by one side, disowned by another, and forced into the arms of a bewildered foster parent who wants what's best for it but honestly would rather not get involved. The NCAA's decision to retroactively declare Bush ineligible during his Heisman season in 2005 may have been a black mark on the "most prestigious individual award in sports," but there's still nothing quite as corrosive to that prestige as utter indifference.
- - -
Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.