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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Grey   

Reggie Bush (Photo Credit: JULIE JACOBSON, Associated Press)

by MARK GREY

9.26.10

“A picture is worth a thousand words” and as meaningless as they may seem, they all tell a story. Pictures are the gateway to the past.  They allow us to freeze time and come back and enjoy the memories later.  We use pictures to remember places we have been, people we have met, and events we never want to forget.  The record books will now tell us that no one won the 2005 Heisman Trophy, in fact, the word ‘vacant’ now appears as if the award was a room for rent or house for sale.  While the single word ‘vacant’ might appear in the record books, the picture above says otherwise and as the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

After an investigation by the NCAA, it was determined that Reggie Bush received improper benefits while at USC, and therefore was deemed ineligible for the 2005 season.  The school was punished and removed any mention of Bush from its campus, including sending back his 2005 Heisman Trophy.  After days of rumors that the Heisman Trophy committee was going to strip Bush of his reward, Bush decided it was better to give the trophy back than be stripped of it.

On a night where Bush took countless pictures, who would have ever known that those pictures would last longer than the iron trophy itself?  The trophy would be engraved with his name, the year and a few other words, but remember a picture is worth a thousand words.

If you take a good look at the picture you will see a lot of different emotions, but one you won’t see is the look of surprise.  When Bush’s name was called as the winner that night, there wasn’t a surprised person in the room.  Bush didn’t just play college football in 2005; he dominated it.  He didn’t just win the Heisman; he ran away with it.  Bush had 784 first place votes while runner up Vince Young had 79. Bush earned the second most first place votes in the history of the award, failing only to top another former USC running back O.J. Simpson (how ironic that of the two, Bush is the one asked to give back his award).  Bush’s 8.7 yards per carry that season wouldn’t even sound real on a video game.  He ran the ball, caught the ball, returned punts and kickoffs -- you name it, he did it.  With Bush, it wasn’t just about numbers; he put together a highlight reel that even Barry Sanders would be impressed by.  To see him play, it looked like Bush was moving at one speed and the rest of the players were two steps behind.

Bush’s college bio will tell you he left school early or didn’t finish, but the picture will tell you otherwise. He arrived as a teenager trying to find his way in the world -- trying to make a name for himself, trying to find a way to the top of his profession, hoping to not only win a National Championship for his University and its fans, but become the best player in the nation.  In this picture, you don’t see a teenager, you see man who has concurred everything college has to offer him.  He arrived on campus in a t-shirt and shorts and he is leaving in a suit after mastering his trade, with a long list of companies bidding for his services.  Isn’t that what college is about?  Isn’t that the reason we go to college?  His credit total may say he isn’t finished with the college, but the man in this picture clearly is done.

The half smile on his face says just as much about that night as the iron figured man he is holding says about his career.  In a night full of joy and a time of celebration, Bush can only muster up a smile that says I’m happy to be here, but more importantly, I’m happy this is over.  The trophy of a player with his arm fully extended to fend off any would-be defenders might as well be Bush’s arm fending off all the money hungry adults who have locked in on him since he exploded on the scene.  The ball tucked away shows at the end of the day, this is what I love to do and I’m not going to let anyone take this away from me.  The picture says I was the best player in college football this year and now I have the hardware to prove it.

In an attempt to clean up college football and make a point, the NCAA and the Heisman committee have completely missed the boat.  Punishing Bush for accepting gifts and lifestyle advancement s for his parents is just the latest chapter in the long book “The NCAA just doesn’t get it.”  Do you think there is any kid in America at home thinking: Reggie Bush won a National Championship and a Heisman, went on to be the second pick in the draft and made millions, won a Super Bowl and dates models -- boy he sure did make a mistake?  Of course not.  Taking his Heisman away from him isn’t going to make any kid in his shoes do anything differently than he did.  If you want agents to stop giving players money, then how about any agent caught handing out money loses their license for years?  If you don’t want kids receiving money, then why not increase the penalties for giving money?  The headlines across the country read “Bush takes gifts, ruled ineligible and stripped of Heisman” and paint Bush as the bad guy.  What if the headlines read, “Poor kids’ parents given house by rich people looking to make millions off of son, son penalized.”  That headline sounds a little bit more like an institutional problem than an individual problem, so I guess we couldn’t have that.  They can take his trophy away and pretend it never happened, but they can’t take away his highlights, his memories or his pictures.  Every picture is worth a thousand words -- nine hundred ninety nine, one thousand.

 

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