USC Coach Steve Sarkisian talks about Josh Shaw, and whether he’s a racist or not


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Steve Sarkisian had an interesting week as he prepared for his first game as USC’s head coach last Saturday.

First, team co-captain Josh Shaw told him he had injured his ankles while jumping off a balcony to save his 7-year-old nephew from drowning. That story turned out to be slightly untrue.

Then, while all that was going down, senior Anthony Brown abruptly quit the team two days before the Trojans’ season opener against Fresno State, calling Sarkisian a racist on both Facebook and Twitter, just to have all his social-media bases covered.

Sarkisian called in to “The Doug Gottlieb Show” on CBS Sports Radio on Wednesday to talk more candidly about everything that had happened. He said that he was skeptical of Shaw’s story at first, but had no reason to doubt his story.

The show’s Web site has the quotes:

“For me, it was, ‘Okay, this sounds a little far-fetched. Let me keep digging, keep digging, keep dinging,’” Sarkisian said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “The thing about it, Josh had never given me – or anybody here – any reason not to believe him. I mean, this guy spoke at our commencement. This guy’s already earned his degree. He’s been working downtown. He’s been elected captain by his teammates. It was hard not to believe him.”

“And then when it finally came out that (he lied), it was disappointing,” Sarkisian continued. “I felt for Josh – because I know that’s not really him. He’s a kid who panicked and did the wrong thing and didn’t know what to do about it. I wish he had done it better from the very beginning because I know the type of person he is, and I really felt bad for him.”

Sarkisian said he didn’t know whether Shaw ever would play for USC again — “he’s got to handle his own stuff legally,” he said — but that he would be welcomed back by both Sarkisian and the team if he clears everything up.

Then Sarkisian talked about being called a racist by Brown on the way out the door. He was less kind in his assessment.

“It was borderline laughable,” Sarkisian said, per the show’s Web site. “I think anybody who knows me and has been around me – whether it’s family, friends, coaches, players – they know what I’m about, who I am as a person. Quite honestly, it was a ridiculous claim. I really didn’t give it much credence.”

No. 14 USC travels to No. 13 Stanford on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

[RELATED: What college football are you watching on Saturday? TV schedule and preview right here.]

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.
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