College athletes have managed to come up with some borderline impressive ways to get suspended over the years, and you can’t talk about that particular topic without discussing the strange case of former USC cornerback Josh Shaw.
In many cases, those disciplinary actions stem from a player being caught in the act while committing a crime; Jameis Winston (who was a multisport athlete at FSU) missed some time with the baseball team after getting nabbed for shoplifting crab legs from a grocery store, while Cam Newton tossed a laptop he was accused of stealing out of a window when the police tracked him down.
That second incident has some similarities with the one that led to Shaw being suspended by the Trojans in 2014, as the safety was originally praised as a hero for leaping off the balcony of an apartment building to save someone in need.
Unfortunately for him, things took a turn for the worse after his story quickly fell apart.
The time USC suspended Josh Show for lying about a heroic rescue
Shaw was gearing up for his senior season at USC when he suffered a major setback after spraining both of his ankles a week before the Trojans were set to kick off their 2014 campaign against Fresno State.
There’s obviously only so much athletes can do to avoid succumbing to injuries in day-to-day life, but it was pretty hard to blame Shaw for the setback once he explained how he was hurt: he claimed he saw his seven-year-old nephew struggling to stay afloat in a pool at a party, so he decided to leap from a second-floor balcony to try to save him before his ankles bore the brunt of the impact upon landing.
USC head coach Steve Sarkisian was quick to praise Shaw for what he described as a “heroic act,” but he quickly discovered he spoke a bit too soon.
A few days later, Sarkisian and USC receive some phone calls from people investigating an incident they framed in a very different light, and it didn’t take long for the program to announce Shaw had been suspended indefinitely for lying about the entire ordeal.
The school initially declined to shed light on what actually transpired, as all of the statements that were issued failed to specify how Shaw had really been injured.
However, he ultimately decided to come clean and admitted he’d panicked after someone called the police after he and his girlfriend at the time got into a verbal argument, which led to his (instantly regrettable) decision to jump off of the balcony in an attempt to avoid interacting with the law enforcement officials who’d arrived on the scene.
Shaw ultimately returned for the last three games of the season and was selected by the Bengals in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, where he spent three seasons before his time in the league came to an end following the 2018 season after brief stints with the Chiefs and the Buccaneers.