USC cornerback Josh Shaw has admitted to USC officials that his story about saving a 7-year-old nephew from drowning - which he used to explain two high-ankle sprains that have sidelined him indefinitely - was completely made up.
Shaw was hailed as a hero Monday when his story about leaping from a balcony to a pool deck below to save his nephew went viral. Doubts were quickly raised about the details of the story, leading USC HC Steve Sarkisian to admit Tuesday morning that the school was "investigating" Shaw's claims. An LAPD police report from the night in question that named Shaw was revealed Wednesday, and the situation has deteriorated from there.
On Wednesday afternoon, USC's athletic department issued the following statement:
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," said USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian. "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."
Sarkisian said that Shaw has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities.
Shaw has retained Donald Etra as legal counsel. Etra will issue a statement on Shaw's behalf soon.
USC regrets the posting of the initial story on Monday (Aug. 25).
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