Josh Shaw Situation: What We Know and What We Don’t


It’s game week, yet the focus around USC isn’t related to the Fresno State Bulldogs and Saturday’s season opener.

Josh Shaw, hero or liar, has grabbed hold of the limelight in Los Angeles and with twists and turns galore, the story doesn’t look like fading quickly or quietly.

The entire saga remains muddled, but Tuesday provided more and more details to digest.

What We Know:

  • USC’s senior starting cornerback has high ankle sprains in both legs and will be sidelined for four to six weeks. In his place, redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins will step into the starting line up.
  • Shaw claims his injuries were the result of rescuing his seven-year-old nephew, Carter, from drowning in the pool at a cousin’s Palmdale apartment complex Saturday night. He says he leaped from a second-story balcony and landed on the concrete below, injuring his legs, before crawling into the pool and pulling the boy to safety.
  • Neither the police, fire department nor paramedics were called to the scene because there was “no respiratory impairment,” Asia Shaw, the child’s mother and Shaw’s sister, told USA Today. The OC Register’s Michael Lev confirmed via 
  • Asia was not present, but told USA Today and ABC 7’s Curt Sandoval that Shaw’s claims are accurate.
  • USC is investigating Shaw’s story in the wake of phone calls which raised questions about the tale shortly after it broke Monday night. USC’s sports information director, Tim Tessalone, told Gary Klein of the LA Times that the story was vetted and believed by multiple people in the department.
  • The LAPD and Palmdale Sheriff’s department each released a statement denying a “run-in” with Shaw Saturday night in response to an unsubstantiated report on Twitter that his injuries had been sustained while fleeing police after a domestic dispute.
  • Speaking to the LA Times, LAPD spokesperson Lt. Andrew Neiman confirmed a TMZ report that Shaw’s name had come up in a police report regarding an incident at the Orsini Apartments in downtown LA involving a man who matched Shaw’s description. Sara Faden, an LAPD Public Information Officer revealed more details to USA Today:

"[Faden] said there was a burglary that occurred at 11 p.m. Aug. 23 at the residence of a woman who identified herself as Josh Shaw’s girlfriend. Faden said witnesses described the burglary suspect as “male, black, with dreadlocks”, but, “The suspect is not Shaw. It happens to be a mutually matching descrption. No one pointed a finger at him as a suspect.”"

  • Neiman indicated that the girlfriend told police that Shaw was out to dinner with friends at the time of the burglary.

What We Don’t Know:

  • How much did USC know and when? Rivals’ USC beat writer Adam Maya tweeted that Sarkisian “believed what Shaw told him and then USC ran with it.” Earlier Tuesday, ESPN’s Arash Markazi quoted a source in the USC athletic department, “
  • Who called USC with doubts and what questions did they raise which led to USC’s about-face on Tuesday? Were they witnesses to the Orsini burglary? Witnesses to Shaw’s alleged dinner plans? Relatives in Palmdale?
  • Where was Shaw? Is there proof tying him to either site, Orsini or Palmdale? Pictures? Social media hints? Why is Asia Shaw, a second-hand witness, the only member of Shaw’s family or those present at the apartment complex to go on record?
  • Why would Shaw lie? And if he had been involved in a police matter, why would Shaw expect the lie to hold up?
  • Will there be consequences if Shaw did lie?
  • Could it really be a coincidence that a man matching Shaw’s description was implicated in a burglary at Shaw’s girlfriend’s apartment on the same night that Shaw claims to have injured his ankles in the rescue.
  • Does Shaw have a girlfriend?

Clearly, the Shaw situation has left plenty of questions to be answered. Stay tuned for more information as it arrives.