clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Josh Shaw lied about saving his nephew from drowning, suspended indefinitely by USC

Shaw was named in a police report about jumping from a balcony after police knocked on the door.

Ethan Miller

USC announced on Wednesday that cornerback Josh Shaw, who had initially told Trojans officials that he hurt his ankles while saving a drowning nephew, admitted that he fabricated that story.

The USC release called Shaw's story "a complete fabrication" and stated that the university "regrets" publishing the initial story, which painted Shaw as a hero.

"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."

Despite the support from Sarkisian, Shaw has been suspended indefinitely. The Trojans have not released what Shaw said actually happened, though the athletic department started receiving calls after the story came out that refuted it. Shaw initially said he jumped out of a third story window to save his nephew, which is why he had ended up with high ankle sprains. reported that Shaw was named in a police report in which the police responded to a call about a woman in an apartment "screaming for help." Someone then jumped off the balcony, and Shaw's girlfriend said Shaw matched the description, though he has not been named as a suspect, and his girlfriend is not necessarily the woman who was reported screaming.

Preciado said the officers then broke the door open and searched inside, but no one was there. A female resident who lives in the unit surfaced in the hallway shortly thereafter. She identified Josh Shaw as her boyfriend and said he matched the description of the man witnesses said jumped off the balcony. The third story is about 20 feet high from the ground.

"The person that lives in that apartment returned and talked about her roommates and her boyfriend, who she identified as Josh Shaw," Preciado said. "The victim's boyfriend had a similar description to the suspect seen leaving the apartment -- male, black, with dreadlocks. She said, That's my boyfriend."

The police investigation is ongoing. Shaw hired a lawyer and released a statement, calling the incident "a fall."