PASADENA, Calif. – It was too good to be true.
University of Southern California senior cornerback and former Florida Gator Josh Shaw has been suspended from the football team after admitting the reported rescue of his drowning nephew, the wild explanation for his recent ankle injuries, was all made up.
Shaw, whose remarkable story made national headlines, approached USC athletics officials Wednesday and confessed to lying about how he wound up injured, according to an official statement provided by the school's athletic department.
USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian, who earlier praised his cornerback for his heroics, said in a statement that Shaw has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities.
The story, which surfaced this weekend, goes that Shaw was standing on a second-floor balcony at a family gathering when he saw his 7-year-old nephew fall into the pool. The boy couldn't swim, so Shaw jumped from the balcony to the concrete below, spraining his ankles in the process.
He was able to crawl into the pool and rescue his nephew, Shaw initially told athletics officials, who ran with the story.
At the time his injuries were reported, there was no timetable for Shaw's return to football. Now it appears it won't be any time soon.
Shaw, who officials say has apologized for misleading his team and the general public, has hired lawyer Donald Etra as his legal counsel. Etra is expected to issue a statement about the tall tale on Shaw's behalf.
"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," Sarkisian said. "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."