Wednesday, January 09, 2008

First glance at the dreaded "Bush Book"

Will Tarnished Heisman bring down Reggie Bush and USC? I just picked up my mail and found a review copy of the new book on Reggie Bush.

It doesn't look good.

The jacket cover claims point-blank, "With the explosive information revealed in Tarnished Heisman, Bush stands to be ruled ineligible -- a decision that could cost his alma mater the 2004 national championship title, force the forfeit of every game Bush played in after losing his eligibility, and potentially strip Reggie Bush of the shining prize of his college career: the Heisman Trophy."

Of course, that's to hype the book and create sales. Notice the phrasing "stands to." What does that really mean? We know the NCAA investigation has been underway for awhile. Now we get to see some of the evidence that they're weighing.

I get the impression that there's limited original research in Tarnished Heisman. I've just started reading, so I could be wrong on that part. My quick-glance found that the author never got a response from Bush, his family, USC, and the NCAA. A lot is based on an accumulation of third-party research (all from reliable sources like newspapers). Then there are the people like Lloyd Lake, who is currently suing Bush. He was cooperative but had to be compensated for tape recordings that he provided.

Back on the negative side for USC fans, the book's accounting says $47,000 went directly to Bush out of the overall $291,000 that went to his family. That makes it hard to deny he knew what was going on. While the photo section lacks any photocopied receipts, bank statements, or otherwise, the Author's Note says that a website will publish much of it. As of this blog post the site ( has not gone live. According to a "WhoIs" search, it's reserved under the name of a company run by the book's author, Don Yaeger. It's going to be tough to doubt the validity of something from Yaeger (a former associate editor and an investigative reporter for Sports Illustrated) and publisher Pocket Books (a division of Simon & Schuster). Expect the hard-evidence's release to coincide with the book's on January 15.

Adding to the situation's shady factor are a pair of references to characters guaranteed to make the Trojan nation uneasy ... memorabilia dealers and Suge Knight.

Bush has gotten himself out of some tough spots in the past, but this is a whole new ballgame. Instead of quietly refuting things and replicating his on-field elusiveness, maybe he could pull a Roger Clemens.