First thing's first... I'm the biggest Saints fan you will ever meet. Seriously. February 7, 2010 is the happiest day of my life. As a diehard Saints fan, the Reggie Bush Era has been one of both incredible highs and deflating lows. There has been a fair share of highlight reel plays like his breathtaking TD in the 2007 NFC Championship Game and his best game ever as a pro in the 2010 Divisional Game against the Cardinals. However, there has also been way too many injuries and ineffective performances to justify his massive contract from being the #2 overall pick in the 2006 Draft.
Reggie Bush's career in New Orleans is now at a crossroads. The Saints can't pay a role player (a darn good one at that) $11.8 million in the last year of his contract, but he is still probably worth more to the Saints than any other team. In recent weeks though, it appears that the stress with Reggie Bush's uncertain future has spilled over into misstep after misstep due to the terrifying athlete trap known as Twitter. Reggie Bush is just the latest athlete to fall victim to the dark side of 140 character public statements.
First, there was his poorly timed and worded Tweet after the Saints traded back into the first round to select Alabama RB Mark Ingram...
reggie_bush It's been fun New Orleans.
Bush's Tweet was a Class A example of how an athlete should not use Twitter. (Rashard Mendenhall's insane Tweets don't even deserve classification.) This whiny, "woe is me" Tweet doesn't sell to fans, his fellow players, or his . Furthermore, Ingram and Bush theoretically wouldn't even get the same touches in Sean Payton's offense. Ingram fills the Pierre Thomas/Chris Ivory every down back role while Reggie Bush has become the prototypical "satellite" player as a runner, receiver, and returner. The Ingram v Bush situation was downplayed through Saints coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees, but this only began his Twitter tailspin...
Yesterday, Bush thought it was wise to weigh in on the lockout with an ill-advised "joke." Turns out, the only joke was on Bush himself as the backlash from fans and analysts came at the running back like an angry Sheldon Brown...
reggie_bush Everybody complaining about the lockout! Shoot I'm making the most of it! Vacation, rest, relaxing, appearances here and there! I'm good!
reggie_bush Right about now we would be slaving in 100 degree heat, practicing twice a day, while putting our bodies at risk for nothing.
After Bush hit the Send button and received the negative feedback, he probably figured those Tweets were a terrible idea...
reggie_bush FYI last tweet was a joke! Relax people damn it's called sense of humor! Cry me a river why don't you...
Sure, maybe he was joking... but a millionaire athlete "joking" while thousands of jobs and livelihoods are on the line with the NFL lockout is a horrendous tought. With everything that is at stake, it's probably not a good idea for Reggie to celebrate his "vacation." Perhaps the most damning critique of Bush's Tweets is this fact though... the majority of his teammates were working out at Tulane University in New Orleans for free. At least 37 players, including free agents without a contract, participated in a workout led and funded by Saints QB Drew Brees and other Saints players. Bush has skipped the player led workouts thus far. What do you think his teammates think about his "vacation" comments while they are working hard and risking injury?
And somehow, Bush topped himself yet again with his Twitter tomfoolery by engaging with the king of all sports gasbags... one Skip Bayless. Unsurprisingly, Skippy was critical of Bush and his Tweets. Bush took the bait and this ensued...
reggie_bush Skippy Skipper Skip Bayless said my performance on the field doesn't give me a right to speak my mind! But his performance does! MY BAD!
reggie_bush I mean what was I thinking! This guy Skipper put it in so much blood, sweat, and heart into this game all behind a desk! You got it boss!
reggie_bush Let me take a step back and bow down to Skippy Bayless! All Hail the great Skipper! He def has my Hall of Fame Vote! Canton here we come!
reggie_bush This is an Official Challenge to 1 on 1 full gear and full contact with Skip Bayless! Plus a full conditioning drill and weight lifting!
reggie_bush If I win he wears a 25 jersey and a dress plus makeup on his show, he wins he gets a full game check! I bet he won't accept my challenge!!!
RealSkipBayless @reggie_bush: ANY TIME you want to come to Bristol and discuss or debate anything I've said about you, face to face on TV, you are welcome.
RealSkipBayless @reggie_bush: ANY TIME you want to meet in Central Park, NYC, and run the 8-mile loop, I'll be there. Then we can hit Gold's & lift weights
reggie_bush @RealSkipBayless that's the response of a coward! You talk big like you can do my job! Some come do it! I was pretty direct w/ my challenge
reggie_bush @RealSkipBayless don't beat around the bush! I never once said I could do your job even though I can! You want some of this or what?
reggie_bush @RealSkipBayless and how did the 8 mile come into this! This ain't cross country you idiot stop trying to find ways to get out of this
(Banging head against wall repeatedly...)
There. That feels better. This conversation makes both men appear to have the maturity of third graders.... no, that's offensive to third graders... it makes them look as immature as Andrew Bynum. I am a huge fan of Reggie, but the minute Bush decided to engage Skip Bayless, Bayless won this Twitter fight, no matter what was said in the aftermath. This is what Skip Bayless does - he goads and annoys athletes into responding to his outlandish criticism, thereby legitimizing what Skippy says and making himself a part of the story. You don't think Skip cherishes headlines like this? This kind of catfight is what he lives for! I stopped taking anything Bayless said seriously more than a decade ago, and Bush should be smarter than to fall into this situation.
That being said, what Bush Tweets Bayless is as disappointing as Skippy's traditional antics. Challenging Skip Bayless to full contact drills? Questioning his analysis because he never played the game? Please, that's one of the weakest taunts an athlete can throw at a media personality. Of course Bayless hasn't put his "blood, sweat, and heart" into the game, he's paid to be in the sports media! Just because he and many others never played the game, it doesn't disqualify them from analyzing games and players. If it did, ESPN would exclusively hire ex-athletes, and that means we may have to be subject to Emmitt Smith again. Yikes.
Do I ever expect anything to culminate between Bush and Bayless? Of course not! Bush doesn't need to go on Bayless' turf to prove himself just like Bayless doesn't need to do tackling drills with Reggie. In this episode, there are no winners, but Reggie Bush is the biggest loser. He's brought shame to himself and the Saints organization through his Twitter turmoil the last few weeks that has carried over to this childish feud with Bayless. As a Saints fan, I was hoping and praying he would return to New Orleans after the season ended in January... now, I wouldn't mind if he and his Twitter account left the Big Easy for good.