Coming into the new college football season, Josh Shaw was USC’s star cornerback and team captain whose prowess in the secondary defense was supposed to help restore glory to the legendary tradition of USC Trojan Football. However, on Saturday, August 23, Shaw seriously injured both of his ankles. The following Monday, he made national news with the claim that he’d injured himself jumping from a balcony to save his nephew from drowning in a swimming pool.
Two days afterward, after investigations conducted by USC, Shaw admitted to lying about his story. The Los Angeles Police Department revealed that he had been described in a domestic incident report that weekend at the Orsini apartment complex, the site where his injury actually happened. By lying, Shaw damaged the reputation of the USC personnel who had originally released and praised his story and angered many fans, especially younger ones, who had looked up to his alleged acts of heroism.
“I had gained so much respect for [Shaw] and even shared the story with my friends and family. The story made me proud to play football and made me feel like there’s a certain sense of sacrifice and humility I had to play with,” said Valencia High school junior linebacker and avid USC fan Wesley Aparicio when talking to JSR.
He continued, “It hurts me as a fan and a player to see that it was all fake.”
Shaw’s deceptive and possibly criminal behavior is only the latest scandal that has defamed the sport of football.
The “girlfriend hoax” that embarrassed former Notre Dame and current San Diego Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o, murder charges against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, and videotaped domestic brutality by now-former Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice are just three of many recent events that have damaged football’s image.
Many sports fans declare that sports should only be about on-field performance and stats. However, because our society today has increasingly celebritized athletes, they have become role models for the future generation and public figures that have much influence in our country.
Therefore, we must be more skeptical about what we believe in the sporting world and that we must do our best to advocate for stricter guidelines and more league administration involvement in keeping the integrity of athletes.