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LenDale White on Reggie Bush Case: College Athletes Should Get Paid

May 14, 2009 – 6:52 AM
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Michael David Smith

Michael David Smith %BloggerTitle%

LenDale White, the Tennessee Titans running back who played alongside Reggie Bush at USC, has an interesting idea about the controversy currently swirling around the Trojans' athletic program.

According to White, the way to avoid issues like the payments that Bush allegedly received in college (not to mention the similar investigation into USC's basketball program) is to pay college athletes.

"I think yeah you definitely should be paid," White said on The Monty Show on Sporting News Radio. "I mean they sold my jersey, the #21 jersey at USC and god only knows how much they made off that jersey. God knows how much revenue they made off the Reggie Bush #5 jersey. Now if you go back and you look at every USC game from here on out and you look in that crowd, you see what number jerseys those people have on in that crowd. You can't wear #5 anymore because it's retired."

White is obviously right that there's something amiss with universities making millions of dollars from selling players' jerseys and not giving those players a dime, all the while sanctimoniously extolling the virtues of "amateur" athletics. But at the same time, Bush agreed to the rules of the NCAA when he agreed to take a scholarship to USC. It's a bit rich to complain about the rules only after getting caught breaking them.

For his part, though, White says he's not at all convinced that Bush did break any rules, and he's quick to add that even if the rules were broken, that shouldn't tarnish the accomplishments of the USC football program in the three years Bush was there.

"I don't know what's been done and what hasn't," White said. "I know that Reggie's an incredible person, I consider him one of my brothers and I'll go to bat for him any time. I don't know what transpires in people's personal lives, so I don't know. They may take the national championships and that's unfortunate but however you look at it...I'm not saying, and please get this correct, I'm not saying Reggie took anything. I am saying that if Reggie took anything how did that help 80 other kids win a championship?"
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