Dear Heisman Trust: I’m Breaking Up With You

By Heather Thomas

Dear Heisman Trust,

After watching this year’s Heisman ceremony, I have decided to break up with you. Trust me, it isn’t easy. Breaking up with someone you’ve loved for so long is downright hard as hell. I’ll always cherish the happy times… Mark Ingram, Barry Sanders, Ricky Williams just to name a few. I forgave you for Cam Newton & Johnny Manziel because I never expected you to be perfect. We all are entitled to a few mistakes.

But after Jameis Winston won, I pulled out that letter you wrote me & read it at least 50 times. You promised me you’d always “continue to protect the integrity of the Heisman trophy.” You said you’d always choose the player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. If you truly meant what you told me, then AJ McCarron would have won last night. Not because I’m a fan of The Crimson Tide but because it was the right thing to do. And I just can’t be with someone who continues to break promises & tell me lies.

Don’t get me wrong, as a lover of football, I am amazed by Jameis Winston’s athletic ability. There was a time when I desperately hoped he’d attend my beloved University of Alabama. And there were moments throughout the season that I felt a tinge of jealousy that he didn’t. Not because I wanted him to replace McCarron. That’s just crazy talk. But to learn from him & take over the reigns once AJ graduates. But that all changed a few weeks ago.

In mid-November, news broke that Winston was under investigation for sexual assault. Even though there was evidence of blood on the victim’s shorts, vaginal tears & bruising, & obvious attempts of a cover-up by the TPD, Winston was cleared of all charges a short time later. Before you tell me how it wouldn’t be right to hold these allegations against Winston, let me remind you that his own teammate is on record admitting that he & Winston commonly share women sexually. Being that 840 of you are members of the media, I think it is safe to assume you have a firm grasp of the definition of integrity. And ladies & gentlemen, this isn’t it.

You had a chance to keep me last night. As each finalist was highlighted during the ceremony, no man was more deserving than AJ McCarron. This season alone, AJ was 1 second & a hail mary, freak of nature, lucky as hell play away from leading his team to play for their 3rd consecutive national championship. Oh, and he managed to achieve this in the toughest conference in the BCS. While most young men would be comfortable resting their laurels on that alone, AJ has never been much good at settling. He managed to maintain a 3.0 GPA, be an active Godfather to a young girl battling cancer, AND befriend & find a job for a student stricken with cerebral palsy. Furthermore, the only negative story anyone has ever been able to write about him is his awful taste in tattoos. Of course, I’m sure AJ made them feel pretty shitty about that, too, because even his freaking tattoos are in honor of loved ones.

I’d remind you all that AJ also had a comparable completion percentage to Winston with half the interceptions. Or that AJ plays in a far tougher conference with much more difficult strength of schedule. I could tell you that it wasn’t “We Want FSU” signs showing up from sea to shining sea every week. Every team had Bama circled. And every week, AJ succeeded. But breaking up is hard enough & there’s no reason to embarrass you even further.

I wanted to love you, Heisman Trust. I wanted this to work. But last night, I kept thinking about that young girl & her family somewhere in Florida watching your ceremony. As sickening as it was for me to watch, it couldn’t compare to what they must’ve felt. I kept thinking of all the kids watching, too. What kind of impact does it have to see someone like Winston win over a man who oozes integrity out of every pore? Would it not have made more sense for an organization who prides itself on providing greater opportunities to our youth to have chosen a man we all hope our children grow up to emulate someday? And how can we find integrity in sports if not with The Heisman?

I’ll always remember you, Heisman Trust. Take care of yourselves. Hate to run but I have a date with the Maxwell Football Club.

Love,
Heather

21 Responses to “Dear Heisman Trust: I’m Breaking Up With You” Subscribe

  1. The Conduit December 17, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Brilliant.

    Also, have you ever seen a Heisman speech more dialed-in than Winston? I heard a lot of people complain he didn’t thank the other finalists, but I’m honestly ok with that. I just didn’t sense any notion of surprise or even a hint of bona fide excitement. It just felt like going through the motions.

    However, I’m all in on AJ. “But he’s not the most exciting player in college football this year.” No, he was just in all of the top three most-watched college football games this year. It’s hard to call that fact alone a coincidence, but AJ also represents everything I love about college football and being a good guy turned into a great man. Roll Tide.

    • Heather Thomas December 17, 2013 at 11:59 am #

      Sadly, nobody was surprised when his name was called. I agree with you 100% about AJ, though. He embodies what every program wants in their starting quarterback. I don’t even think we’ll fully understand how much he’s needed until he is gone….

      • R Malone December 24, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

        Embodies what? Being a sore loser, accepting extra benefits or just being a spoiled jerk? C’mon…quit whining. He had average numbers against a lot of average teams. Bammer fans thinks they should get everything just handed to them…and usually do,,,see Mark Ingram’s heisman.

  2. Hunter Ford December 17, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Very Nice! The Heisman Trophy is a joke! I love Mark Ingram, and I’m glad he won it, and he deserved it, but I don’t think Ingram is the best running back we’ve had at Alabama. Bobby Humphrey and Sean Alexander, in my opinion, were better. And if the Heisman was truly about the best player each year, then a defensive player would win it sometimes.

    • The Conduit December 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

      And Mark Ingram had a great story, full of emotion, and success to back it up. He had everything I thought the Heisman should stand for.

      So does AJ. I think if Alabama wasn’t so successful AJ might have been a shoe-in this year, for what it’s worth.

      I can’t watch Ingram’s speech and not cry. Powerful stuff. I cried when I watched Winston’s speech, but for other reasons…

    • pete4tide December 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

      Hunter: Completely agree with you that the Heisman Trust is totally focused on offensive players instead of the “best” player. They also seem, the past couple of years, to be more about a younger player having the award instead of a player with a larger body of work. Although JFF was a phenom his first season, most of their opponents managed to figure out how to defend against him, or – in Bama’s case – score more points that he could. If Cam had stayed more than a semester at the Barn, we would have seen his rookie season in the NFL during his senior season at AU. Coaches like Saban, Miles, even Freeze, don’t get fooled a second season against the same foe. Winston may get his lesson as soon as January, but it’s more likely he will see what opposing coaches are able to do when given the time next season. The Barn is also going to have to get used to having the target on their backs this next season as well. Jimbo may get the first opportunity to show how to defend against Gus’ trickeroo offense – or they may lay the big egg because they haven’t really been challenged their whole season and don’t know what to do when they get an opponent with SEC caliber athletes.

  3. Jim December 17, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    What people do in a bedroom is their business. I have no idea what AJ does in his, nor do you. To tell you the truth, what his choices are sexually is his business and his partners, whether singular or plural, men or women. I think your choice for disliking the Heisman as an institution is shallow at best. If Winston was charged with assault, even before he was found guilty, I would agree with you. Each voter makes up their mind, that’s the process.

    • The Conduit December 18, 2013 at 8:39 am #

      Then don’t make it just about sex. I’m not. Neither is this article.

      AJ McCarron represents everything we should be proud of in college football that isn’t celebrated in pro football. His name will, not might, but will go down as one of the greatest college quarterbacks in football history. He does good things, had no scandal, speaks clearly, shows emotion, graduates, and wins championships. There’s a reason why he was in NYC, and it’s not because of what we know or don’t know with Jameis Winston.

      • Jim December 18, 2013 at 10:41 am #

        Look, the voting wasn’t even close. It was 668 first place votes for winston, 78 for AJ. Based on those that have been public, the majority of former winners picked winston also. It’s simply not a result you like. Sorry your guy didn’t get the votes. Question for you, “speaks clearly”, what’s that all about?

      • Jim December 18, 2013 at 10:41 am #

        Look, the voting wasn’t even close. It was 668 first place votes for winston, 78 for AJ. Based on those that have been public, the majority of former winners picked winston also. It’s simply not a result you like. Sorry your guy didn’t get the votes. Question for you, “speaks clearly”, what’s that all about?

        • The Conduit December 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

          You’re right it’s not a result we like.

          But why do we have to like it?

          And why shouldn’t a guy like AJ McCarron be celebrated? It’s not simply about discounting Winston or saying he didn’t deserve it. It’s saying the “it” he deserved, the definition of the trophy itself, seems to be disregarded in the first place. I think you’re kinda missing the point of the article and chalking it up to McCarron being Alabama’s player alone.

  4. peachy December 17, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Thats some sour ass grapes right there.

  5. # 1 al. fan December 18, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    Right on peachy!! and the rest of you, A.J. is a classic example of ‘nice guys always finish last’ ! I saw through all the smoke and mirrows of the Heisman also, and I couldn’t stomach the rest of the show. Apparently they can get away with anything in Florida, RTR

  6. finebammer December 18, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    i quit paying attention to the heisman a long time ago. about the time i realized the award was not about the “most outstanding” player but a popularity contest.

    mark ingram would not have won his but for mark may of espn beating his drum for him as the season wore on in ’09.

    i’ll always love the line i heard somewhere about two-time winner archie griffith of ohio st:

    he didn’t deserve it the second time and the first even less.

  7. Hoopie December 19, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    Heather sounds a lot like butt hurt. You represent typical biased Bammer that does not know a whole lot about football, but sure is arrogant enough to pretend that you do. It is refreshing that you are at least you are educated.

    McTat got voted #2 only because he fared well in the beauty contest. Actual value and worth would have put him down around 6 or 7.

    I evaluate the Heisman candidates by comparing whether the different candidates would improve other teams if they were on those teams.

    Based on this criteria: Manziel is #1 and Winston #2. Manziel would have made every team better and Winston would have made every team better except for aTm.

    McTat and Mason both would have been down around 6 or 7.

    Aaron Murray is a much better QB than McTat. Murray has more guts, runs better, reads defenses as well or better and makes better throws than McTat. Murray did all of this on a team that was completely crippled and he carried them to the wins they got.

    All that McTat did was manage a team with a lot of talent and not screw it up. ….well …except against Auburn when he missed 4 slant passes in a row and caused Nick to abandon the best scheme to work against Auburn. BTW …Murray completed those same slant passes and sparked the UGA comeback.

    Wanna see McTat’s value? Just watch him fail in the pros. His mediocre arm and slow feet will not do well in the pros.

    I suggest that you adopt a little bit of reason and let’s revisit McTat’s status in a few years when he will already be out of the pros and probably be selling stuff to his Bammer worshipers in Mobile.

    • The Conduit December 19, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      I couldn’t disagree more. But you’ll hear about AJ McCarron for the rest of your life, so maybe your mind will change a little over time.

      Regardless, I don’t expect to change Little Brother’s mind about how good the best quarterback in the history of the program with the most national championships really is.

      To suggest he didn’t deserve the Heisman based on all these fun stats alone is one thing. For example, when you say Manziel is the reason for TAMU’s success, I don’t understand how his mistakes aren’t the reason for their demise. It’s fun to call our QB a game manager, but the significant difference is wins, which is one of my favorite stats and yet all but ignored when the Heisman is mentioned.

      But the article is questioning the Heisman’s definition itself. It’s not exclusively about saying AJ McCarron deserved it, even if he would never win it, because the problem is if he won it you’d be here to argue why he shouldn’t have anyway. By definition, it’s arguable he deserved it, and frankly I don’t think it’s unfair to say the definition is simply inaccurate.

      AJ McCarron represents the best college football can be, he has 3 national title rings and 3 losses as a starter. He’s a living legend and would elevate the status of the award by representing it the way he’s represented both the sport and the University of Alabama. I don’t think it’s unfair of “butt hurt” to say it. I think it’s Little Brother Syndrome that brings you here to complain and insist on his failure in the future. I won’t waste my time arguing how the Heisman is a college award and not a NFL award regardless.

      Oops.

      AJ McCarron is and always will be one of the best in college football history. I just can’t really relate to anyone who thinks it would be such a bad thing for him to have been suggested for the Heisman over a guy like, well, frankly just about anyone.

  8. ITK December 21, 2013 at 5:10 am #

    This may be the most brilliant article posted on this website. Ever.

    I couldn’t agree more, and it has nothing to do with fandom or affiliations.

    If Auburn had a quarterback or leader with this kind of integrity vs. someone like Winston, I would feel exactly the same way.

    Problem is, they don’t. Ever. Auburn represents a lesser mentality, making it predictable that cretins like Hoopie are too morally bankrupt to see and subscribe to what is right and what is wrong.

    Brilliant Heather. Brilliant.

  9. Chris December 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Great article. The Heisman has always been a joke, though. QB’s and RB’s are part skill and part OL blocking. Ever see a lineman win it? How about a defensive player? Rocket Ismael doesn’t count because he was a “return specialist.”

  10. Mike December 24, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    AJ should not be rewarded for a career at Alabama any more than Ingram because this is not a career award but a seasonal one…having said that, go back and see where AJ ranked among passers in the NCAA and then come back and tell me you still think he deserved it…Not sure Winston should have received it but definitely know that AJ didn’t…doesn’t matter that he was playing for a 3rd NC…if these are your criteria, then why not Tre Mason? The number one rusher on the number one team in the number one conference and TD leader of same….

  11. Jealous December 25, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    Oh my gosh I don’t know how many times I can throw up with the love fest for Alabama and there above average qb. If you have to state in your article and your posts that this feeling for Aj winning the heisman etc isn’t because you are a bama homer then thats exactly what it is. Aj was a nice qb on by far the most talented team in the country the last couple years and the 2nd most talented team this year. Winston was by far the most talented player with the best statistics on the best team in the country. Your article oozes jealousy throughout. So you know Aj 1st ring he did not touch the field so in your lifetime achievement award your trying to give him that has no influence whatsoever. Winston yes is somewhat immature he is 19 lets not forget that and remember you and everyone else on this site was also immature at 19 so to crucify someone for having sex and being immature is in no way a reason to slam someones integrity. The few things you throwout there about the case have no facts added to them they are just a couple random things you saw in the police report but if you did your homework and read through the entire SA reports you would realize there was no rape that happened in anyway this was simply a girl who wanted to have sex with an athlete and then after words felt shitty about it either because her boyfriend caught her or she felt like a slut because he brought her home and let her know it was nothing but a 1 night stand or she thought wow hers this top qb and top baseball recruit maybe hell be rich one day and ill be able to get some money one day from a lawsuit, there are many women out there that think like that. So there was no crime and no attempt to prosecute but he didn’t deserve the heisman because of INTEGRITY, please you have no facts get some and come back and write a real story instead of some puff piece to try and give your average qb a lifetime achievement award. Your story is filled with hate and jealousy over WInston not choosing ALabama, his home school, and Alabama not making it to the national championship, and fsu now becoming the most stacked team in all of college football. Yes that Fsu that is now better than your beloved Alabama team and all of those in fsu wanted Alabama in that title game to beat down on you and show you how they are flat out better than anything Alabama has put on the football field this year. But your hated rival did that for them and exploited Bama and beat them and shoved them into obscurity this year. So really it all about it sucks to be bama this year because they have no chance to win it all, there most hated rival is playing in the game with a chance to win it all, and Fsu has moved ahead of them as the consensus best team in college football this year and they will start next season number 1 and so forth. Oh I didn’t know you were best friends with Aj to actually know how much integrity he has, you don’t know him from Bob and just because nothing has ever came out about his supposed integrity or lack there of doesn’t mean dude is a saint.

    • The Conduit December 26, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      What a terrible response.

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