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USC vetting Josh Shaw's story of rescuing a drowning nephew

By Chip Patterson | Staff Writer

USC coach Steve Sarkisian said that injured cornerback Josh Shaw will not be available to the media until the school is done investigating his account of Saturday night's events.

Shaw told Sarkisian that he jumped from a second story balcony at a family event on Saturday night to save his 7-year-old nephew from drowning. In a school-issued release, USC said that Shaw sprained both ankles while landing on the concrete but used his upper-body strength to pull the family member from the pool.

On Tuesday, Sarkisian said that the he had received calls contradicting Shaw's story and the school would look into those tips before commenting further.

"Josh Shaw, first and foremost, is a good person and a good kid. He came to us with what had occurred Saturday night. I have no reason and no history to not believe Josh and his story of what has occurred," Steve Sarkisian said Tuesday. "Obviously within the last few hours or so we've gotten a few phone calls contradicting what Josh said occurred on Saturday night, so we're going to continue to vet it. We're looking at it, but beyond that I only know what I know."

Shaw is a senior starter and was selected to be a team captain for the 2014 season. He was ruled "out indefinitely" by the school on Monday night as a result of the injuries.

"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw said Monday night via the school release. "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."

Josh Shaw's story of saving a nephew is being investigated by USC. (USATSI)
Josh Shaw's story of saving a nephew is being investigated by USC (USATSI)

Multiple reports indicate that, at a minimum, there are some inaccuracies in Shaw's version of the story. Sarkisian appeared disappointed to be discussing the issue on Tuesday, and asked reporters for some time to separate fact from fiction.

Amid rumors that Shaw could have been injured in an incident involving Los Angeles police, the LAPD issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that it had no record of any "run-in" with Shaw. A deputy with the sheriff's station in Palmdale, Calif., where Shaw said his rescue of the nephew occurred told USA Today they also had no record of any reports involving Shaw.

The Los Angeles Times later reported that Shaw's name had appeared in a Saturday night LAPD report, in which a woman living in Orsini Apartments said a description of a man seen "scampering" over third-floor balconies in the wake of a reported burglary at the apartments resembled Shaw. But she also said Shaw, her boyfriend, was out at dinner at the time and LAPD have also said Shaw is not a suspect, calling it a "mutually matching description."

An unnamed player told TrojanSports.com that the Shaw situation is "going to suck for us."

However, Shaw's sister Asia told USA Today that though she was not present at the alleged rescue of her son, Carter, she could vouch for the veracity of Josh's account. She added that because there had been no impaired respiratory function, police were not called.

"The one who was supposed to be watching him turned away for a second," she said. "And Josh, who is on the balcony, saw the incident and reacted."

USC kicks off the 2014 season against Fresno State. It is the second-straight meeting against the Bulldogs, who USC defeated 45-20 in the Las Vegas Bowl with Clay Helton filling in as the interim coach.

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