Well, it’s a lie.

USC senior cornerback Josh Shaw admitted that his story about how he sustained two high ankle sprains last weekend – by jumping from a second-story balcony to save his drowning 7-year-old nephew – was a complete fabrication. Shaw has been suspended indefinitely.

Needless to say, this looks bad for Shaw, it looks bad for USC, and it looks bad for head coach Steve Sarkisian, who defended Shaw’s character at a press conference Tuesday.

“To some extent, I feel like Sarkisian at least tried to get out in front of this,” CBSSports.com college football writer Jerry Hinnen said on Ferrall on the Bench

“He could have just sort of waited until everything played out and then said, ‘Oh, I’m completely shocked. I had no earthly idea Josh Shaw would ever do this.’ To come out yesterday and kind of stun everybody by saying, ‘Yeah, this story may not be entirely true,’ to me, he didn’t have to do that. So to some extent, I can give him some credit for that.”

“But you’re absolutely right,” Hinnen continued. “For USC as a program, Sarkisian, the AD (Pat Haden) – whoever basically said, ‘Yeah, let’s go (forward) with this story’ – (it was a mistake). I think it’s pretty clear that even before they went public with it, there were some pretty serious misgivings within the program about whether this was actually true or not.”

“To go forward with it publicly – and the release basically makes him out to be this huge hero – there’s eggs all over everybody’s face.”

For Shaw, this incident could go far beyond a suspension. In fact, Shaw has apparently hired a lawyer to handle any issues that could arise in the coming days and weeks.

“He could be brought up on honor-code charges even if he’s not under any criminal suspicion, and he could get kicked out of school if USC deems this as a serious enough offense against the honor code,” Hinnen said. “If that’s the case, then you probably want some kind of lawyer to talk to the school and be able to say, ‘Okay, well, if you do this, then yes, you may get sued.’ If he gets put in that kind of situation, I can see how (having) a lawyer might be (helpful). But again, that’s speculation.”

“Just about everything else at this point is speculation,” Hinnen continued. “I think his official story on how his ankles got sprained was he simply fell off a balcony – which, if that’s the case, I’m not sure why he didn’t just tell everybody, ‘Hey, I fell off a balcony.’ His lawyer is saying alcohol was not involved. There have been so many rumors and so many reports about this entire thing. For me, we haven’t gotten a lot of hard info from reporters I actually would say are credible in terms of what we know beyond the fact that he lied, his ankles are hurt (and) he’s got this lawyer. I suspect it’s not good. I suspect that if we we’re just talking about slipping and falling of a balcony, none of this would have ever happened.”

Sooner or later, we’ll know what happened.

“The truth is going to come out eventually,” Hinnen said. “There’s too many reporters on the trail of this thing. There’s way too much attention on it. It’s going to come out in the wash at some point.”


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