It’s one of the best sports stories we’ve heard all year, and it might not be true.
USC cornerback Josh Shaw claimed that he sustained two high ankle sprains this past weekend after jumping from a second-story apartment balcony to save his 7-year-old nephew, who, according to Shaw, was in danger of drowning in a pool.
USC, however, is vetting Shaw’s claims.
“We’re kind of in that drop, drop, drop phase where holes are starting to occur more and more in his original story,” Los Angeles Daily News Trojans writer Scott Wolf said on The MoJo Show. “I think we’re at the point now where USC probably needs to come forward and make a statement or Josh Shaw needs to make a statement – because each hour that passes, it seems like more information comes out contradicting what he said happened over the weekend.”
Shaw’s story, if untrue, would be the strangest college football story since the online-dating hoax involving Manti T’eo. It would also be one of the most surprising.
“(Shaw) might be one of the last guys you would suspect of something,” Wolf explained. “He actually gave the commencement speech to the athletes in May when he graduated. He also had an internship at a big real estate company in Los Angeles and he won an internship contest against 30 other interns. It’s a highly competitive thing. He’s got great attributes off the field. He’s not just a football player. To come up with this story and now deal with this is really out of character for him.”
If Shaw did indeed lie, it shows remarkable naivete. After all, he had to realize a story such as this would attract a great deal of attention.
“I’m not sure why he didn’t just say he fell in his bathroom or something,” Wolf said. “That would have been a lot easier to get away with. Now we have this crazy story that turned him into a hero overnight. I think what you’re seeing happening, it’s always the people (who are in) the same age group – the friends – that know the truth. And I think some of them came forward in the last 24 hours, and that’s what kind of started this whole thing.”
There are now reports that Shaw may have been involved in a burglary Saturday night, but nothing has been confirmed.
“Everyone’s just kind of trying to confirm the truth,” Wolf said. “We’ve all come up with a basic story that we’ve heard from multiple sources. Now we’re kind of trying to confirm it. But it does seem like something happened in Los Angeles – not Palmdale, which is about two hours away, where he said he was Saturday night. It does look like something happened in Los Angeles, and it may have happened around his girlfriend’s apartment. That contradicts the story of saving the drowning nephew.”
“I think now everyone’s trying to get the details,” Wolf continued. “It would really help if he just came forward and USC could announce it and then they can kind of focus on the football.”
USC opens at home against Fresno State on Saturday and returns 18 starters from a team that went 10-4 last year. The Trojans have great skill players and a great front seven but a questionable offensive line and secondary, which will only be made worse without Shaw.
“(He) came up with a cover story that was just too good to be true, and now the backlash has started,” Wolf said. “It’s made it worse. “