USC Football Player Admits Lying About Injuring Himself While Saving Drowning Nephew

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 27 2014 8:31 PM

USC Football Player Admits Lying About Injuring Himself While Saving Drowning Nephew

451000793-safety-josh-shaw-of-the-usc-trojans-celebrates-against
Josh Shaw of the USC Trojans celebrates during a game against the Stanford Cardinal.

Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The University of Southern California announced on Wednesday that cornerback Josh Shaw lied when he said he injured himself over the weekend while rescuing his 7-year-old nephew from drowning in a pool. USC released a statement saying Shaw “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.”

The reversal by the Trojans’ senior team captain came after he told USC coaches he sustained the injury this way (via CBS Sports):

Shaw was at a family social function when he saw his 7-year-old nephew, who cannot swim, in distress in a pool. Shaw lept from a second-floor balcony and injured himself landing on the concrete below. He then crawled into the pool and got his nephew out safely.
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“I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew,” Shaw said on Monday in a release. “That was a heroic act by Josh, putting his personal safety aside,” USC head coach Steve Sarkisian said of Shaw's story in a statement earlier this week. “But that's the kind of person he is. It is unfortunate that he'll be sidelined for a while and we will miss his leadership and play, but I know he'll be working hard to get back on the field as soon as possible.”

Discrepancies over Shaw’s version of events, however, caused the school to take another look at the player’s account. On Wednesday, USC announced Shaw had fabricated the story, suspending him indefinitely from the football team. Shaw’s attorney, Donald Etra, told USA Today “Shaw fell from a balcony on Saturday night August 3rd in Los Angeles and injured both of his ankles.”

“We are extremely disappointed in Josh,” Sarkisian said in a statement. “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.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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