Football player lied about heroically jumping off balcony to save his nephew from drowning

In the universe of social media, the might be such a thing as too much publicity.

Just ask Josh Shaw.

joshshaw0828
Photo Credit: Canoe.ca

The story of the USC Trojans’ cornerback who endangered his playing career to save his nephew from drowning seemed almost too good to be true.

Turns out, it was.

Shaw, the newly elected team captain has admitted lying about injuring both ankles in a jump from a hotel balcony, USA Today and other news outlets reported Thursday.

How exactly he did get hurt remains a mystery – though his name has arisen in connection with a burglary investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, according to news reports.

“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.”

The school’s athletic department sent out a news release Monday explaining Shaw’s injuries as the result of his own heroism.

The story might have ended there. A neat feature in the LA papers, maybe a brief picked up on the wires to appear inside sports columns around the country.

Since heroism sells, the NCAA picked up the news release, showcasing one of its start players in the best of lights in a re-tweet that went to 1.2 million followers, according to the Washington Post.

And then the questioning started, USC started receiving phone calls questioning Shaw’s story, and the Los Angeles Times reported that a “Joshua Shaw” had been mentioned in a reported in connection with an apartment break-in Saturday night, a report that also mentioned a man running across balconies.

Now, Shaw has admitted the story of his nephew’s rescue was a lie, but hasn’t publicly explained how he injured himself. His attorney said he did it in a balcony fall Saturday night, but said it wasn’t a criminal matter, according to USA Today.

Police so far are at pains to say Shaw is not identified as a “suspect” in the break-in, but it’s safe to say he’s no longer the hero social media made him out to be only three days ago.

In the universe of social media, there really might be such a thing as too much publicity.

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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