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While He Certainly Lied, Josh Shaw Deserved His Second Chance

USC did the right thing by reinstating Shaw to the program.

Josh Shaw returns to the practice field on Wednesday, hoping to suit up for Saturday's game against UCLA
Josh Shaw returns to the practice field on Wednesday, hoping to suit up for Saturday's game against UCLA
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sure Josh Shaw lied, we all get that by now. But the USC athletic department made the right decision by reinstating Shaw. Following a lengthy investigation by the LAPD, which signaled no charges against the redshirt senior, the USC Trojans had no choice other than allowing Shaw to return to the team right away.

Following a 10-game team suspension and his dismissal from team activities, Josh lay in the weeds awaiting an opportunity to play again. The young man told his side of the story, as documented by Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times.

Shaw paid the price for lying -- a steep one at that -- and as questions began piling up following his return to full health, Pat Haden and company were forced to make a move. USC head coach Steve Sarkisian stood silent, awaiting the moment when the paperwork arrived on his desk for a final decision. Sarkisian, Cody Kessler and others spoke fondly of Shaw and were anxiously awaiting the moment they could be reunited.

Many players on the team had tried to overlook the Josh Shaw situation all together, especially after being on a limited involvement with campus-related activities as a USC graduate. The Trojans continued to play, winning seven of their first 10 games this season but you know what, the question always cluttered the locker room about when the elected captain would be returning to the football team.

I'll admit, I was a bit skeptical that the Trojans would ever take him back even if his name were cleared in the investigation. I wouldn't rule the rumors out of the discussion, which made the questions seem ever more substantial as the weeks went on. What still remains in the air, however, is how will the Trojans respond when their captain --an exemplary player in his own right--apologizes and returns to the locker room dynamic.

Talk about a potential bolt of excitement, the return of your starting cornerback could make all the difference. Or maybe as we've seen this season, the games will still be decided by one or two final plays in the fourth quarter. Whatever the case, USC will be able to welcome back the veteran presence into the equation.

Someone like Josh Shaw brings a level of hunger, thirst and drive for the game of football. Being stripped of that opportunity (even for just 10 weeks) puts things into perspective that are so hard to duplicate. He may not play, heck I don't expect him to against UCLA. What I do know, however, is that USC deserves to let Shaw learn from his mistakes.

That action can transpire on the field, whether it be positive or negative for that matter.

That could happen in the weight room going through a tough set, or even being left off the field for an entire month, reveling in what could've been. All those experiences are part of the process, and Josh Shaw deserves that chance to sink or swim on the field.

That's the area where he made a name for himself, despite his previously exemplary academic standing. Josh Shaw has seen it all, and nothing says he can't learn from his mistake to teach USC a thing or two about doing things that right way. Especially right now, as the Trojans look to continue a perfect month of November.