University of Southern California cornerback Josh Shaw was reportedly involved in a screaming match Monday with a teammate who wanted him to admit he lied about saving his nephew from drowning. The fifth-year senior was suspended indefinitely Wednesday after admitting to team officials his alleged heroics were a “complete fabrication.”
An unnamed member of the Trojans football team confronted Shaw, challenging him to “come clean” and admit he had lied about how he suffered a pair of high-ankle sprains, multiple sources at USC told TMZ Sports. “Why you lying?” the player reportedly said to Shaw. The verbal altercation was “very intense,” the site reported. Several members of the Trojans football team separated the two men before the situation could become physical.
Shaw told team officials he was injured Aug. 23 after he jumped from a second-story balcony to save his 7-year-old nephew, who was purportedly strugging in a pool, ESPN reported. “That was a heroic act by Josh, putting his personal safety aside,” USC head coach Steve Sarkisian said at the time. “But that’s the kind of person he is.”
However, Sarkisian said Tuesday he had received a few phone calls contradicting what Shaw said occurred last Saturday night. The coach announced Wednesday Shaw would be suspended for fabricating the story.
“We are extremely disappointed in Josh,” Sarkisian said in a statement cited by ESPN. “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.”
Shortly thereafter, Shaw released a statement through his attorney in which he apologized for his transgression. “I made up a story about this fall that was untrue,” he said. “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.”