After an NCAA investigation revealed improper gifts were provided to Reggie Bush while at the University of Southern California, the New Orleans Saints running back was told by NCAA and Heisman committee officials that he will now be forbidden to reenact the Heisman pose in public.
The NCAA had recently targeted the USC football program for being complicit in gifts provided to Bush and his family by his agent. The punishment included a two year postseason ban, a loss of scholarships,and a rescission of those wins in which Bush participated. The most severe disciplinary action forced the Trojans into accepting Lane Kiffin as head coach for an indefinite period of time.
As for Bush, his decision to voluntarily return the most sought-after individual award in all of sports this week did not satisfy the Heisman Trophy Trustees. In a joint announcement with the NCAA rules committee, they said that Bush would be denied forever his right to do “the Heisman pose,” a move first popularized by University of Michigan wide receiver and 1991 Heisman winner Desmond Howard and has since become the most famous sports image of all time.
The Heisman pose, or “giving the Heisman” as it is sometimes called, has been awkwardly used ever since by those attempting to show off their physical prowess. The move is often conducted by high school football players acting like total jackasses and often employed by middle-aged men as a means of expressing dominance.
The Heisman Trustees specified the three main parts of “the pose” that Bush will be banned from using: (1) football held tight to the chest, (2) high stepping, and (3) the straight arm. Bush will not be allowed to use two or more of the three body positions at any given time thereby avoiding any stance resembling the Heisman pose.
Bush has expressed concerns about the sanctions and how they might impact his ability to play football.
“There might be times where I need to stiff-arm a tackler, or maybe even hold on to the ball very tightly,” Bush said. “I’ll need to consult with my running backs coach and work on a technique where I can run without raising my knees too high.”
Bush may also expect to find significant difficulty in performing common tasks such as holding babies, climbing stairs, and continually warding off unwanted female attention.