Maybe it's time I stop trying to understand how athletes think. Before LeBron infamously declared that he was taking his "talents" to South Beach, I told anybody that would listen that there was no chance that the self-dubbed "King" would divorce his hometown on national television. But as you're well aware, I was wrong.
Similarly, I've stated previously that at some point our old buddy Reggie Bush was going to come to his senses, take a deep breath, and issue some form of a belated apology. Didn't have to be a big press conference where a teary-eyed Bush went into great detail regarding his transgressions while a "student-athlete" at USC. Even a little press release on his own website or blog would do the trick. Heck, last night I was almost ready to accept his apology directed toward current athletic director Pat Haden during a telephone conversation, reported by the USA Today.
But as of this afternoon, Haden would like you to know that Bush has yet to apologize for his actions, which have led to the NCAA placing USC on 4-years probation. In other words, he could care less about 'SC. Per the Los Angeles Times:
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said Friday that he spoke last week with a contrite Reggie Bush, but that embattled 2005 Heisman Trophy winner did not apologize for actions that played a major role in the NCAA's decision to hit the school with severe sanctions.
That contradicts a report by USA Today that Haden had said Bush apologized for those actions.
"Never did he say I'm sorry or I apologize," Haden said. "Never did he say, 'I lied to the NCAA or I took stuff.' "
Maybe I was being naive initially, but in the end, it shouldn't come as a big shock that Bush has continuously denied any wrongdoings and has still refused to apologize at this point in time. If sports are said to reveal character, then this whole NCAA investigation has highlighted what a typical egotistical athlete Bush remains today.
Did Bush receive extra-benefits as a player at USC? Of course. But that's not the reason 'SC fans should find fault with him. Sure, his actions were selfish, but in reality, he was simply seeking a way to capitalize on his talent and athletic abilities. As a college student, if I knew of a way to parlay my writing "skills" into $300,000, I'd certainly be interested.
But where I will always find fault with Bush is that he seemingly left the USC athletic department out in the cold. Granted, he was already putting them in a tough spot to begin with through his actions, which violated NCAA rules, but at the very least, he could have taken steps to help prevent the COI from dropping the hammer as severely as it did.
For starters, he could have repaid Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels the money they lent him when he opted not to sign with their agency. At that point, they likely wouldn't have fled to Yahoo! Sports as quickly as they did. Or, he could have at least cooperated with investigators. Heck, he could have demonstrated some contrition, especially to all those USC fans who sported #5 jerseys during his record-breaking 2005 season.
Instead, when Paul Dee and company came knocking on his door, he simply placed another stiff-arm on the fat boy's head, and defiantly denied any wrongdoings.
"When this is all said and done, everybody will see at the end of the day we've done nothing, absolutely nothing wrong," Bush declared back in 2006.
Now, Bush seems to be humming the same tune. Let me guess.
"We've done nothing wrong. We're the victims here."
Sorry Reggie, we're not buying it.
We wanted to buy it in 2006. In 2008, 2009, and even 2010, many of us were even still on your side.
We wanted to believe in a player we had all come to love. He couldn't be another egotistical athlete. He was different, right? He was the guy who brought the swagger back to the Coliseum. He helped make USC football flashy, exciting, exhilarating, and everything it should be - on the field at least.
But at the end of the day, Bush further demonstrates a failure to understand the fabric of America. We're a forgiving society. Just asked Andy Pettite. All you have to do is show some contrition; show that you care. In short, just say you're sorry. We'll give you another chance.
Instead, this ordeal demonstrates that Bush doesn't care about doing anything of the sort, and well, that's fine. Just don't ever expect to visit the beautuful downtown Los Angeles oasis that runs from Jefferson to Exposition. In short, get lost and don't ever come back.