USC starting cornerback Josh Shaw admitted that he made up a heroic story of saving a 7-year-old nephew in a pool and spraining both his ankles in the process, the school said today.
The injuries are real, and they had put the 6-foot, 1-inch player on the bench for the season. Now USC says he's suspended indefinitely from the team.
The real story of how Shaw sustained those weekend injuries still had yet to be told. His original tale, called into question by tipsters, involved a family party in his hometown of Palmdale and …
… a leap from a second-floor balcony to save the boy.
After the school received information that the account might not be truthful, it started to investigate or, in the words of head coach Steve Sarkisian, “vet” the story.
Then it was reported that Shaw was named in a police report about a man seen running across a balcony at the Orsini apartments in downtown L.A. Saturday, the same day the rescue was supposed to have happened.
Sarkisian, however, stood by Shaw during media interviews yesterday, saying he had no reason not to believe the player and adding that false accusations are levied at team members all the time.
Today the university had this to say:
USC senior cornerback Josh Shaw came to USC athletic department officials this afternoon (Wednesday, Aug. 27) and admitted that he had lied about how he suffered his ankle injuries over the weekend.
He said that the story he told of rescuing his nephew in a pool in Palmdale, Calif., was a complete fabrication. He apologized for misleading his coaches, teammates, athletic department officials and the public.
We are extremely disappointed in Josh. He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story.
I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized. Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him.
Shaw has retained a lawyer.
[Update at 4:48 p.m.]: Shaw's attorney sent us this statement from the player:
On Saturday August 23, 2014, I injured myself in a fall. I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong not to tell the truth. I apologize to USC for this action on my part.
My USC coaches, the USC Athletic Department, and especially coach Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career and for that, I am very grateful.