bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Josh Shaw and the incredible fall from a balcony

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My lead Bad Sports story this week was nearly a minor Good Sports story last week. I had already written the blurb and was preparing to post my column when new information came to light that changed the whole situation. Josh Shaw, a senior defensive back on the USC football team, is in major trouble after a crazy set of events that took him from being lauded as a hero to having his college career in jeopardy after he was shown to be a big-time liar.

The initial story I read made Shaw sound like one hell of a guy. He had injured both of his ankles by jumping from a second-floor balcony in order to save his nephew, who had fallen into a pool and was unable to swim, from drowning at an apartment complex an hour from campus. He told the story to his coaches, the school’s PR department, and anyone who would listen. He had just been voted a team captain days earlier, and by all accounts had always been a model citizen and leader on the team. The school, feeling as if it had made every attempt to poke holes in the story and had failed, issued a press release about what had occurred. There was no point keeping quiet about it, as Shaw’s injuries were likely to keep him out for a while and questions were going to be asked.

Always happy to find a Good Sports story in a sea of Bad Sports, I added the tale to my list and wrote a nice short piece about it. As I was preparing to publish my post last week, I did a quick search to confirm something I had mentioned and I came across a report that said that Shaw had made the whole thing up. Oops. Delete. Rather than try to modify what I had, I simply took it out and posted the column without it.

The actual details have not yet been confirmed, but Shaw did admit on Wednesday that he had made up the whole story and lied to everyone. The only true part of it was the fall from a balcony. He had been just a few minutes from campus when it occurred, not an hour away. Numerous people had called the school to tell them that the story was not true. It is known that police had been called to the apartment complex where the fall happened, but whether or not they came because of the aftermath of the incident or whether the police being there actually precipitated a fall or jump from the balcony is still a mystery. Piecing together the various bits that have been mentioned, it sounds like he may have climbed out a window of his girlfriend’s apartment and jumped from the balcony as police arrived after they had been called because someone had heard a woman screaming.

There is certainly more to come with this tale. None of it will be good for Josh Shaw or USC. It will certainly be fascinating to follow, though.

Bad sports, continued:

2) The mess that is the University of North Carolina athletics program just keeps getting worse. This time, the school is looking into a hazing incident that left a player with a concussion. I know a lot of people downplay the dangers of hazing, suggesting that people are too sensitive these days, but this story clearly shows why it needs to be eliminated.

3) Continuing the bad week for USC football, running back Anthony Brown, a senior, quit the team and ranted about coach Steve Sarkisian on Instagram saying:

“Sark treated me like a slave in his Office…Can’t play for a racist MAN!!!!!”

Sarkisian called the claim “ridiculous.”

4) The Vanderbilt football team wore jerseys that said “Anchor Down,” the team’s slogan, in place of player names on their backs on Thursday night against Temple. This violates an NCAA rule, and they were going to be docked a timeout in each quarter until they were removed. Coaches actually printed out an email that apparently indicated permission had been given and showed it to the refs. They were allowed to keep the jerseys on with no penalty, but the governing body later announced that it was a misunderstanding and that this would not be allowed in the future. Perhaps Vandy should have stuck with the names instead, as they were crushed at home by a Temple team that is not expected to be very good.

5) Mere days after the NFL put new rules and penalties in place regarding domestic violence (see Good Sports #1 below), Ray McDonald, a defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, was arrested in San Jose on felony domestic abuse charges.

6) Ah, the anti-Semitic joke. Always such a laugh riot. San Diego Chargers announcer Hank Bauer, a former NFL player who has called the team’s games for nearly three decades, tossed one of these at Josh Lewin, a Jewish broadcaster with whom Bauer was working during the team’s preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers this week. Lewin commented that he would stay to the end of the game if he had paid for the tickets when he noticed how many empty seats there were late in the game. Bauer’s response was to tell one of those awful old jokes suggesting that Jews are cheap. Awesome. Bauer has since apologized, of course.

Good sports:

1) I guess NFL commissioner Roger Goodell realized the major mistake he had made last month when he went easy on Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for knocking his wife unconsciousness (read my story), because he announced a brand new policy about punishments for charges of domestic violence on Thursday. Suspensions start at six games for a first offense and a lifetime ban (with the opportunity to apply for reinstatement) for a second offense.

2) Nathan Orf, a minor league infielder in the Milwaukee Brewers system, played all nine positions during his team’s final game of the season on Sunday. Pitching came last, as he got the first out of the ninth inning before being taken out of the game.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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