The Washington Post

Josh Shaw called USC to fix a minor detail in its press release of his made-up story

[posttv url=""]

Newsweek has a story about how Southern Cal was duped into promoting what turned out to be a thoroughly fictitious account of how Josh Shaw injured his ankles. Basically, it boils down to the fact that Shaw was meticulous in weaving his deceitful tale, staying on script through numerous interviews and enlisting family members to corroborate his story. From Newsweek:

For every question USC officials asked, Shaw had what appeared to be a credible answer. Moreover, his story never changed. The fifth-year senior cornerback had already related this tale to teammates, coaches and training staff. Now, on Monday, he was sitting five feet across from head coach Steve Sarkisian, or athletic director Pat Haden, or senior associate athletic director J.K. Mckay, looking directly into their eyes, and repeating the story.

This has to be the most eye-opening detail from the report:

USC issued a press release on its athletic website at 3:30 p.m. local time on Monday. Not long after, someone called to question the veracity of the report: Josh Shaw. In the story, since expunged from USC’s site, Shaw is described as landing on the pool deck and then crawling to the pool. Shaw phoned to say that such phrasing was melodramatic, that he had not crawled to the pool, suggesting that the phrase “made his way to the pool” be used instead.

Now that, folks, is dedication to the lie. It’s no wonder that, despite having some initial reservations about Shaw’s story (or so they say now), school officials eventually bought it hook, line and — especially from a PR standpoint — sinker.

Des writes for the Early Lead and the D.C. Sports Bog, scouring the Web to bring readers items of interest, both serious and amusing. He also covers fantasy football, as well as fitness topics for the MisFits.
Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.