LOS ANGELES — Southern California cornerback Josh Shaw has admitted to lying to school officials about how he sprained his ankles last weekend, retracting his story about jumping off a balcony to save his drowning nephew.
Shaw has been suspended indefinitely from all of the Trojans’ team activities after acknowledging his heroic tale was “a complete fabrication,” the school announced in a statement Wednesday.
The school didn’t explain how Shaw actually was injured, but USC officials say they regret posting a story on their website Monday lauding Shaw’s story about a second-story jump onto concrete to rescue his 7-year-old nephew.
“We are extremely disappointed in Josh,” USC coach Steve 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.”
Shaw is a fifth-year senior, a team captain and a key starter in USC’s defensive secondary, widely regarded as a solid teammate and an important team leader for the 15th-ranked Trojans, who begin their first season under Sarkisian at the Coliseum on Saturday against Fresno State.
Shaw issued a short statement through an attorney on Wednesday after being suspended.
“On Saturday, August 23, 2014, I injured myself in a fall,” Shaw said. “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.”
FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman spoke with Donald Etra, Shaw’s attorney, on Wednesday afternoon, and Etra stated there is no criminal case or investigation involving Shaw. Asked why Shaw would need an attorney if there’s no criminal case, Etra responded, “Intelligent people hire lawers.”
Since Shaw officially hired him on Wednesday, Etra told FOX Sports, he can provide Shaw with advice if he needs it.
Regarding speculation that Shaw injured himself while trying to run away from police, Etra told FOX Sports, “I’m confident he was not running from anything.”