LOS ANGELES – USC senior cornerback Josh Shaw admitted to school officials he had fabricated a story about rescuing a 7-year-old nephew from drowning and lied about how he suffered ankle injuries.
Shaw, who has been the focus of controversy this week, was suspended from the team indefinitely.
“We are extremely disappointed in Josh,” USC coach Steve 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.”
Sarkisian, previously coach of the Washington Huskies, is in his first season as USC’s coach.
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In a statement released through attorney Donald Etra, Shaw acknowledged lying but did not say what actually happened.
“On Saturday, August 23, 2014, 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. I apologize to USC for this action on my part.”
USC’s statement did not include an explanation of how Shaw was injured.
“I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized,” Sarkisian said. “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.”
Shaw, 22, started his college career at Florida.
No. 15 USC plays its opener against visiting Fresno State on Saturday.
Shaw trended nationally Monday after USC posted a story on its website of the alleged rescue of his nephew last Saturday night, a tale that included leaping from a second-story balcony at an apartment in Palmdale, north of Los Angeles.
The story turned Tuesday when Sarkisian announced USC was investigating Shaw’s account after it received phone calls contradicting the story.
The Los Angeles Police Department later disclosed Shaw’s name was included in a report from an incident that occurred Saturday night at the Los Angeles apartment complex where he lives. Police have said Shaw is not a suspect in any crime.
Etra said Shaw was not involved in criminal activity and would not discuss how his client was injured, other than to say Shaw fell off a balcony at the apartments.
USC athletic director Pat Haden said, “Right now, what we know is we have a kid that fabricated a story, period.”
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