Johnny Manziel refuses to attend Heisman Award ceremony in support of Reggie Bush: “This is about doing what’s right”

Reggie Bush carved his name into college football during his illustrious career at USC. He racked up accolades, including two unanimous All-American selections and the Heisman Trophy, solidifying his status as a legend.

However, despite his on-field dominance, a cloud hung over his collegiate legacy, specifically regarding the Heisman Trophy. The controversy surrounding the award simmered for years and was recently reignited by fellow Heisman winner Johnny Manziel’s vocal support.

Johnny Manziel steps up to support Reggie Bush

Johnny Manziel threw a Hail Mary in the fight for Reggie Bush’s Heisman reinstatement, announcing his boycott of future ceremonies until Bush reclaims his rightful place among the college football elite as a recipient of the prestigious award.

Taking to social media on Saturday, Manziel, himself a Heisman winner from 2012, doubled down on his support for Bush. He emphasized the importance of maintaining Heisman’s integrity and upholding the values of fairness within the brotherhood of Heisman winners.

“After careful thought and consideration I will be humbly removing myself from the Heisman trophy ceremony until @ReggieBush gets his trophy back. Doesn’t sit right with my morals and values that he can’t be on that stage with us every year. Reggie IS the Heisman trophy. Do the RIGHT thing @NCAA the ball is in your court.”

Doubling down on his previous statement, Manziel took to Twitter again, emphasizing that no amount of money could change his mind. Instead, he highlighted the significance of prioritizing the best interests of the entire “Heisman fraternity,” a term often used to describe the community of past Heisman Trophy winners.

“You can back a brinks truck up to my house and I still will not attend the ceremony or do ANYTHING involved until Reggie’s trophy is back where it rightfully belongs.  This is about doing what’s right for everyone involved,” he wrote.

Manziel’s advocacy for Bush’s cause extends beyond social media. He recently discussed the issue on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast, “Club Shay Shay,” questioning the NCAA’s stance on Bush’s past infractions. 

The former Cleveland Browns player also expressed his resolve to utilize all available means to ensure that Bush has the opportunity to reclaim his trophy.

What happened to Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy?

Reggie Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy win stood as a golden moment in his USC tenure. However, the celebration was short-lived, as the NCAA hammer fell on USC due to impermissible financial benefits received by Bush and his family from rogue marketing agents.

A four-year NCAA probe uncovered a trail of cash, travel stipends, and even a rent-free pad for his folks that Bush received from these eager marketing agents. The fallout was brutal, with Bush surrendering his Heisman and USC facing a postseason ban, vacated wins, and a scholarship squeeze.

Reggie Bush's 2005 Heisman Trophy win
This Dec. 10, 2005, file photo shows Southern California football player Reggie Bush picking up the Heisman Trophy after being announced as the winner of the award, in New York. The president of the Heisman Trophy Trust says a decision hasn’t been reached on whether to strip former Southern California running back Reggie Bush of the award he won in 2005 honoring college football’s top player.(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

In 2010, NCAA sanctions compelled the former USC player to disassociate from USC for a decade. The disassociation period concluded in June 2020, prompting Bush to make a plea for the reinstatement of his Heisman and NCAA statistics in July 2021.

In expressing his belief in earning the Heisman through hard work, Bush stated that his records “should be reinstated” in a statement. 

“It is my strong belief that I won the Heisman trophy ‘solely’ due to my hard work and dedication on the football field and it is also my firm belief that my records should be reinstated,” he said, per ESPN.

Later, he even filed a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA in August 2023, challenging their “pay-for-play” statement. He contends that the funds he received were unrelated to USC.

As the legal battle ensues, it will remain to be seen if Reggie Bush can restore his Heisman Trophy, which once symbolized his extraordinary achievements on the football field.

Shabiha Akter

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Shabiha, once a casual observer, has morphed into a die-hard NFL fan. She carefully dissects every play, trade, and strategy. Whether it's breaking down game highlights or predicting playoff outcomes, Shabiha is your go-to source for all things NFL.

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