Dear Reggie Bush:
We’re not a media consultant, but we play one in the newspaper. At this point, we kind of know how the game is played, we have some contacts with people in the business, we watch a lot of TV, we have a computer.
Say, you got a second?
Just a few problems with your latest media fumble as you try to rectify your standing with the Heisman Trophy people specifically and with your college reputation in general.
Paragraph three, sentence two of your statement this week — released on the New Orleans Saints website, and then left out there to be interpreted by whomever wanted to take a shot at it:
“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.”
First, this doesn’t even sound like you. Congrats on finding someone who wrote this script for you. Except that’s the first place you blew it. Make it your own voice.
Or, do you even have an opinion about this? It seems to this point you really don’t. That’s the problem.
About this “media speculation.” You’ve touched on something that’s really not going to help your cause here.
You probably heard of this book that Don Yaeger wrote way back in 2008 called “Tarnished Heisman: Did Reggie Bush Turn his Final College Season into a Six-Figure Job?”
I’m guessing you tried to ignore it, didn’t read it, hoped it went away.
It’s still out there. And, for those of us who do read, gleaned a lot of background on your time at USC, it’s all laid out pretty clearly about what appears to have happened.
For those who need a picture and sound, we saw HBO reports on this a few times on “Real Sports,” with the guy who said he loaned you money to fix up your car, gave your parents the house and pretty much admitted that if you had just paid him back, none of this would have come to light.
Media speculation is one of those generic phrases that get thrown around, because, when we don’t have facts, we tend to speculate.
So, that said, why not come clean and give the media some facts to speculate with?
My point is: Let us help you help us.
This media that helped build up your image, documented your accomplishments, recorded the video that the Heisman folks could view before making their votes, can be a vehicle of redemption here if you allow it.
This is the point in the game where you find a reporter who you trust, you sit down in front of the TV camera, you let the questions come, you answer them honestly, then this gets out there, and there’s no more “speculation.”
You up for it? Apparently not. That’s going to be another problem.
Instead, you’ve taken one step forward by giving the Heisman trophy back, but another step back by failing to apologize or explain further what you knew about what happened.
You’ve created more questions by coughing up the Heisman without admitting any wrongdoing.
Then why return it? It makes no sense.Your actions have spoken louder than your words — there’s no reason for it.
There may be, in your mind, a population of the media that relishes the fact that it can bring down a Heisman trophy winner. Realize there’s a much bigger group that simply wants to report the truth about what happened.
You want more speculation? Some sports-talk guys have said they think you’re taking the bullet for your family, wanting to protect them from the NCAA rules they violated.
That’s honorable. Let’s go with that one, if you’re comfortable.
The statement you delivered Wednesday implies you want to help others not make the same mistakes. How can you do that? Explain it further.
Bottom line: Don’t assume the media is trying to twist your arm for a confession. It just wants the truth. And some remorse, perhaps. And the more non-truth that is out there, the worse it will get.
If you want the media to push you in the same corner with Roger Clemens, Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods . . . nicely done. But, really. From a media, damage-control point of view, you could put your USC education to better use and take a smarter path toward finding a hole and running through it.
Some media say this transparent gesture of giving the trophy back before the Heisman Trophy trust asked for it back is just the start. If you have stories to back up your innocence, let’s hear it. If you don’t, come clean.
“Don’t take the ball 93 yards and now kick a field goal,” Dan Patrick said on his nationally syndicated radio show today. He speaks for a segment of the media that would gladly like to get the end of this story so we can all move on, do some good.
Good can’t be done if there’s still too many bad feelings out there.
You’ve done a lot of great things in your time in New Orleans with helping the community there. You’re looked up to by a lot of kids who wear your jersey. It’s your life, but the more you keep the media out of it, the tougher it will be to run and hide.
Just pitchin’ it out there to you. As always, what you do when you receive it is up to you.