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Reggie Bush calls for accountability after reclaiming Heisman Trophy

Reggie Bush calls for accountability after reclaiming Heisman Trophy

Former University of Southern California running back Reggie Bush is demanding accountability in the wake of allegations that led to him forfeiting his Heisman Trophy in 2010. Bush's trophy was returned to him on Thursday after a 14-year dispute with the NCAA.

He received the award for the most outstanding college football player in 2005 when he played for the University of Southern California Trojans. But in 2010, Bush forfeited the award following an NCAA investigation that found he accepted gifts and cash from a would-be agent.

Bush's dispute with the NCAA intensified following a 2021 statement from the organization, which he claimed defamed him by describing his situation as a "pay-for-play type" arrangement.

"I was never paid to play. That never happened, ever. I was a broke college kid," he said.

The return of the trophy coincides with a transformative era in college athletics, where players can now profit from their name, image, and likeness. Bush remains skeptical of how these changes serve all players.

"Everybody's benefitting but the kids. The NIL works for the star player of the team. That's it," he said.

The NCAA declined to comment on this story.

Bush said the reinstatement by the Heisman Trust reflects the end of a long journey for him.

"I think when you've manifested this for so long, right, and you've been, I think, through the ups and the downs for so many years, I've cried over it, I have—you know—but I feel like at this point it was more about just taking it in, and just being happy, and just enjoying the moment," said Bush.

"It was as heavy as I remembered," Bush joked about lifting the trophy again.

The joy of the moment is overshadowed only by years of emotional struggle, including moments when Bush said he dealt with depression and thoughts of suicide. Bush credits his recovery to the support he received from the New Orleans Saints' community when he joined the NFL team.

"When I think I'm at my weakest point, and when I'm dealing with depression, fighting thoughts of suicide, there's an entire city there to embrace me, and to lift me up and to give me an opportunity to go out once again and to prove myself," he said.

As Bush looks forward to his future, he said he is excited about returning to USC and participating in the tradition of leading the team onto the field this fall.

"It's gonna be full circle, it's gonna be crazy, amazing, exciting," he said.

Bush's No. 5 jersey number will also make its return to USC's Coliseum.

"It means everything. That's what I grinded for. The hard work and dedication that I put in on this football field, in that stadium, in the weight rooms, in the classrooms... everything that was asked of me, I did that," he said. "Every time my name, my number was called, I gave them 110%."

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