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Josh Shaw Phoned USC to Correct "Inaccuracy" in Original Hero Story

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How Shaw got USC to believe his heroic tale.

Ethan Miller

Redshirt senior cornerback Josh Shaw was able to fool the USC athletic department with his original heroic tale of saving his seven-year-old nephew from drowning in a Palmdale pool. His lies led to USC publishing a heroic tale and later having to retract it when people began to call with information questioning Shaw's tale of how he incurred a pair of high-ankle sprains.

But how did he dupe Pat Haden, J.K. McKay, Steve Sarkisian, the athletic department and the sports information offices as well?

Newsweek's John Walters gives an in-depth look at how Shaw went about selling the story.

Among several interesting tidbits, USC was skeptical and Shaw was basically interrogated about the event over and over, yet his story never wavered. In fact, Shaw's sister, Asia, the mother of the seven-year-old in question, corroborated the story.

But not just big sister...

School officials told him that the story sounded "a little unusual" but he held firm to his story. Moreover, family members such as his older sister Asia, Carter’s mom, corroborated it. So did non-family members who USC declined to name.

Finally after being questioned in possibly "25 different sittings," USC decided to run with the story on Monday afternoon. But soon after the piece was published, someone called to try to correct an inaccuracy.

It was none other than 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.

It should be noted that Walters' article is entirely from USC's perspective with all the quotes coming from USC sports information director Tim Tessalone and one closer from an anonymous USC official. But even if Shaw did go on the record with a reporter at this point, how could we really believe anything he said?

Check out the story for yourself: