USC cornerback Josh Shaw was suspended indefinitely Wednesday (Aug. 27) after he admitted to lying about saving his nephew’s life during a family function. The football player said that he injured both ankles last weekend by jumping off a second-story apartment complex to rescue his 7-year-old nephew from a pool.
“On Saturday August 23, I injured myself in a fall. I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong to not tell the truth,” Shaw said in a statement. “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.”
Shaw said the boy could not swim and was “in distress without help nearby.” His older sister, who is the child’s mother, corroborated the fabrication. “The one who was supposed to be watching him turned away from a second, and Josh, who is on the balcony, saw the incident and reacted,” said Aisia Shaw.
Though there was no police report filed, authorities did respond to a neighbor’s call about a man running across the wall of an apartment complex. A woman interviewed by the LAPD reportedly told authorities “sounds like my boyfriend Josh Shaw” when questioned about the neighbor’s recount.
By Tuesday, Shaw’s story was being investigated after USC coach Steve Sarkisian received several calls questioning his claims.
“We are extremely disappointed in Josh,” Sarkisian said. “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 hired attorney Donald Etra, whose previously represented Rihanna and Snoop Dogg. Etra says that Shaw has done “nothing criminal.”
Not surprisingly, Shaw being compared to another college football player whose story didn’t quite add up: Manti Te’o.
Check out some of the reaction tweets in the gallery.