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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bush Please!

(ESPN "30 for 30" trailer voice)

What if I told you Reggie Bush should've taken more money while at USC? What if I told you that any college football player with NFL aspirations is a fool if they don't take money?

It was announced via press release yesterday that Bush was going to return his 2005 Heisman trophy, on the heels of an NCAA investigation that revealed he and family members took money from an agent. The NCAA had already penalized USC for this violation, and Bush and his Heisman were essentailly the issues that needed resolution. When it was announced he'd be giving the trophy back instead of having it taken from him, semantics removed, the story was reported as though he did the proper thing. He accepted responsibility for his wrong acts. He wanted to teach a lesson to future generations of college athletes that he fought the bylaw, and the bylaw won. Case closed, end of story.

Except for people like me, who believe there is something un-American about punishing people for taking money based on present and potential performance. I thought this was America, people! What part of the Constitution or Bill of Rights says getting money without robbing, killing, or insider trading is illegal? Its not there, because our founding fathers were about getting that paper.

(Now here's where we identify the irony of how each of the founding fathers got their money primarily on the backs of people who physically labored without any compensation other than room and board. But I digress, because we're not ready to talk about that.)

Let's ignore the fact that; Bush is being scapegoated; that players at USC during the Pete Carroll era were taking money left and right; that any potential candidate to receive the Heisman award in place of Bush (ie. Vince Young) can probably be linked to an agent as well; that Bush is likely not the first Heisman trophy winner to have taken money (Herschel Walker, Matt Leinart); that it is the culture of the college football booster world to find athletes and pay them; that, yeah, I'm kind of a paranoid conspiracy brotha, with a tendency to believe the broader the conspiracy, the better.

Let's just focus on this simple question: Why do we have to lie to kick it? Joi from "Friday" put it best, when she said we don't have to. Its 2010, and we're still pretending that somehow there is virtue in a college football player not taking money and instead honoring an NCAA bylaw that wasn't written with their best interest in mind. The bylaw, like most, was written to protect certain tax status, and conveniently keeps the NCAA from even entertaining the idea of a salary system for the players. That, in turn, creates an environment where people with money seek out people who need money, against the wishes of people who make money off of those people in need.

Unless you believe room, board and education is payment enough. And if that's the case, go back to Russia, you commie bastard.

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