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Who Really Cares?

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With all the gnashing of teeth that we are seeing and the increased level we are sure to see once the Bush book is released it was interesting to read an outsiders point of view of this situation

Taken in its entirety because there is no link to the post itself

POSTED 6:14 p.m. EST, January 11, 2008

BUSH STORY GROWS, DOES ANYONE CARE?

When the story broke regarding allegations that Reggie Bush and/or his family received money and/or other benefits from folks in the San Diego area who planned to represent Reggie once he made it to the NFL, it was a huge deal.

The accusations, and Reggie's handling of them, arguably dropped him out of the top spot in the 2006 draft. And the evidence, developed primarily by Charles Robinson and Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, seemed to indicate that something happened. Something that ultimately could require Reggie to surrender a certain trophy featuring a certain facemaskless figure throwing an awkward stiff arm with both feet planted on the ground in a clumsily wide stance.

But something else has happened over the past two years. Even as the proof has continued to mount, creating a quietly inevitable sense that, eventually, Bush will have to give up the hardware, we wonder whether the general public cares about the case.

There's a book on the subject that comes out on January 15 (the timing of the release, for sales purposes, is very questionable), and an exclusive excerpt on Yahoo! Sports. We started to read it, and that's when the light bulb finally came on. Though it might have simply been the adult ADD talking, I could no longer force myself to dig into the minutiae of the matter.

I get it. Bush and his family allegedly got money. And there's plenty of evidence that might make the "allegedly" eventually disappear from that sentence. I get it. He apparently was getting paid when he shouldn't have been getting paid. I get it. It's wrong. I get it.

And try as I might I just don't care anymore.

It makes us wonder who, if anyone, really does. USC fans might be privately worried about losing a national championship that has already been fully celebrated, but beyond that don't care. Saints fans aren't interested in shelling out a double-sawbuck for the privilege to read bad things about Reggie. Casual football or sports fans surely won't be sufficiently motivated to turn the book into a best seller. And any Reggie Bush haters out there have surely had their venom neutralized by the fact that, in the pro game, he's just a guy.

The book, we predict, is not going to vault to the top of the Amazon.com or New York Times best-sellers lists.

It would be much different if Bush had become Gale Sayers, or even Maurice Jones-Drew. Or if the Saints were still alive in the 2007 playoffs. From a right/wrong standpoint, that shouldn't matter. As a practical matter, it does.

And so while Yahoo! continues to do quality journalistic work on this one, uncovering documents that implicate Bush and other witnesses who corroborate the pending claims, Bush's case is ultimately no different than that of many other college players who get paid by someone while still technically "amateur" athletes.

So when the good folks at The Big Lead rightly ask why ESPN is ignoring the Bush book, the answer might simply be that Bristol, like many of us, has moved on.

We're not saying we'll never mention the case again. But this isn't Woodward and Bernstein stuff. And our apathy about the situation speaks to much a deeper problem with college sports -- one that is so deeply engrained in the culture that it perhaps can no longer be termed a "problem."

It's a reality. Kids who excel at college football are going to get paid. By someone.

And maybe, in a roundabout way, there's some justice in that. Given the revenue they generate in return for sacrificing their bodies in the name of an "education" that most of them wouldn't have wanted anyway, they should get paid.

I obviously disagree with some of the stuff that is written here; paying players is a Pandora's box that can do little to help the situation.

But I do agree with the premise that because this has dragged on for so long nobody cares anymore except those who follow this program or those who are haters. To the latter, they are insignificant to us because they want us to be humiliated. Those of us who do care are concerned about the future of this program so that is why we keep tabs on what is going on.

That being said, the bigger issue for those of us who do care is that up to this point there has been no "smoking gun" that lights the world on fire in regards to any knowledge that officials at USC knew this was going on. Sure, the reason that nothing has happened was because NO ONE was willing to speak to the NCAA. It is much clearer to me now that Lloyd Lake is only looking for a payday. He couldn't get Bush to settle so he threatens a lawsuit and threatens talk to the NCAA, that it took him almost 2 years to file said lawsuit and then speak to the NCCA while ultimately SELLING his story to the two authors who wrote this book shows that he MAY have something on Bush but nothing on USC. Yes, he alleges that SC knew but he has yet to provide any proof only innuendo.

Some feel that there isn't much to all this as is written here:

Still looking for"smoking gun"evidence on USC/Bush

Friday, January 11, 2008, 02:04 PM PST [General]

We've all seen the outrageous headlines, the claims that USC's dynasty could be brought down by "Bushgate."

The National Enquirer has nothing on Yahoo or the backers of the new book "Tarnished Heisman" when it comes to making big claims -- sources like Yahoo keep suggesting that USC could lose one or both of the National Titles USC earned for the 2003 and 2004 seasons over the Bush mess.

The problem with all these suggestions, all these overly-dramatic innuendos, is that there still isn't any EVIDENCE out there that suggests that any of those claims COULD even possibly come true.

The documented "evidence" of any type of payments to the Bush family consists of three things:

  1. Papers (let's assume them to be genuine for now) showing that in March of 2005 Reggie Bush stayed in a Las Vegas hotel with an agent and at the expense of an agent, with billings of $623.63. (It is claimed that Reggie Bush actually reimbursed the agent, so it was simply a matter of having the charges placed on a card and him later repaying the agent for the charges Bush made.)
  2. Papers (again, let's assume them to be genuine for now) showing that a newly started management company purchased a San Diego area home in March of 2005 that was then occupied by Reggie Bush's mother and step-father from April 2005 to April 2006. (The terms on which they stayed there remain unclear.)
  3. Papers (again, let's assume them to be genuine for now) showing that some airline tickets were purchased in November 2005 by someone related to an agent that were supposedly used by members of Reggie Bush's family to attend the USC-Cal game in November 2005. (Again, it is claimed that the family reimbursed the agent, and that the booking was the only courtesy they received.)

I don't think that it is as cut and dried as that. The whole Ornstein angle really hasn't been explored and that concerns me more because SC knew Bush was working for him in the summer. All the Bush clan had to do was produce a rental agreement for the house they lived in and all they have to do here is show documentation that they reimbursed those expenses. To me this is far from over.

I am in the camp of no longer caring about this until the NCAA makes their results of the investigation public and hands down their ruling. But I am surprised that so many would put credence into the word of an individual who has such a shady past, that has yet to offer any solid evidence that SC knew, simply because it furthers their agenda.

The outside world (pro football) really couldn't care less because this happened so long ago with little being put forth to resolve it. They also know that college athletics is a dirty business and so it really isn't a surprise to them and this won't be the last time this happens. A couple of people I have talked to that follow the pros carefully laugh at the shock, outrage and righteous indignation that has been written about this on both sides within the college ranks. Their thought process is as simple as the last short paragraph above:

It's a reality. Kids who excel at college football are going to get paid. By someone.

And maybe, in a roundabout way, there's some justice in that. Given the revenue they generate in return for sacrificing their bodies in the name of an "education" that most of them wouldn't have wanted anyway, they should get paid.

In a society that always roots for the underdog and the oppressed it's kind of hard to argue with that...