On Monday, various news outlets reported that University of Southern California cornerback Josh Shaw had sprained both ankles in a heroic, life saving act. As the story goes, Shaw was at a family event this weekend when he spotted his unattended nephew drowning in a backyard pool. Shaw jumped from a second-story balcony onto the pool area, Shaw landed on the concrete, rather than in the pool, and then crawled to the water in order to rescue the little guy from drowning. Naturally, Shaw — who was just named as one of USC's captains this weekend — will miss some games due to his injuries, but it was for a good reason.
"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw told ESPN. "My ankles really hurt, but I am lucky to be surrounded by the best trainers and doctors in the world. I am taking my rehab one day at a time, and I hope to be back on the field as soon as possible."
The story does seem a little too good to be true, doesn't it? Others agree, and now USC investigating the story after receiving claims that Shaw made it up.
It was USC that first gave the news to the press, however, they are now changing their tune slightly. When the first version of the story came out, Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said, "That was a heroic act by Josh, putting his personal safety aside. But that's the kind of person he is. It is unfortunate that he'll be sidelined for a while and we will miss his leadership and play, but I know he'll be working hard to get back on the field as soon as possible."
USC received phone calls saying Josh Shaw did not jump off the balcony to save a drowning -child USC investigating pic.twitter.com/TNEsAGgQbx— Curt Sandoval (@ABC7Curt) August 26, 2014
It is unclear who called the school to report otherwise, and thus far, nothing has been confirmed. Sarkisian is saying the story must be "vetted" and has said "I have no reason, no history to not believe Josh and his story."
Sources told me incident did not involve family party or rescuing nephew from pool. #USC investigating claims— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) August 26, 2014
Another version of the story shows some confusion in the facts, as Shaw may have told the school he jumped off the third story, but in a statement to press, they noted the second story.
Rumors are already circulating about what the alternative series of events could be. Attorney and USC graduate Heather Dillion tweeted another version that has not been confirmed:
Sources: Josh Shaw was involved in an incident involving domestic abuse & jumped off a 3rd story window while running from LAPD. #USC— Heather Brittany (@HeatherBrit) August 26, 2014
While the details of the situation remain unclear, college football fans can't help but be reminded of Manti Te'o (who played for one of USC's biggest rivals) and his imaginary girlfriend. #CatfishRescue?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.