Ignorance is No Defense

(Sent by TigerFan)

I don’t fault USC for Reggie Bush’s stupidity. The superstar made a mistake and someone’s going to have to pay for it. Unfortunately, as is often the case, those that pay for it are not the ones that committed the crime.

The media is already going soft on this one intimating that the worst case would be the forfeiture of some games by USC. However, while punishing USC may be unfair unless they knew about the arrangement, let’s compare the Reggie Bush situation with an event from the last decade.

After winning the 1992 national title in a stunning upset victory over Miami in the Sugar Bowl, Antonio Langham went out and celebrated in New Orleans. Like many of us visiting the Big Easy, he probably celebrated a little harder than he should have, and like many of us, in the AM hours of the next day, he entered into what probably seemed like an insignificant relationship. I don’t know how many hurricanes, hand grenades, and/or flaming Dr. Pepper’s Langham took down, if any.

Unfortunately for the University of Alabama, it wasn’t a beer-goggled, Bourbon Street hookup for Langham. Instead, he signed with an agent for a staggering $400. Langham returned to Bama and played the following season. The end result was a ludicrous probation initially involving the loss of 26 scholarships and the forfeiture of all Bama wins and ties in 1993. Link

What Langham did was in the heat of the moment only hours after winning the national title. What Bush’s family did was a long drawn out process involving a sports marketing firm that Reggie Bush’s stepfather allegedly helped found. Bush, for whom I had a great deal of respect until now, can whine all he wants that nobody knows how much their parents pay in rent; however, even a blind man could see that his parents moving into a newly constructed three quarters of a million dollar rental home with a family monogram in the driveway was a problem.

I personally don’t want USC to forfeit any games or lose any scholarships unless they knew about the infraction – though the NCAA does need to apply a consistent standard. The forfeits don’t really mean anything anyway except a reduction in “the streakâ€?. Of course, someone in the media will say the streak is still on since the 2005 season including the lost to Texas no longer count. In any case, no one in Fayetteville or South Bend is going to celebrate the newly found victories. On the other hand, Bush should lose the Heisman since he will likely and rightly be ruled ineligible for the 2005 season. With all the money he gets from being the first pick in the draft, he can buy OJ’s.

Although his denials are hardly believable, in a way I do sympathize with Bush. It was apparently his parent’s greed and not his own that created this mess. Greedy parents of athletes have a way of messing up their kid’s finances. Throw in a former gang member, an Indian tribe, and a monogrammed driveway and you just couldn’t make this mess up.

By the way, does anyone actually believe Adrian Peterson’s car deal was legitimate? At least it didn’t cost $757,000.

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