(CBS/AP) — It’s pure chaos out at USC. Just pure chaos.
A day after the heartwarming story of safety Josh Shaw spraining his ankles after jumping to off a balcony to save his drowning nephew was revealed to be an outright lie, Trojans senior running back Anthony Brown quit the team abruptly and took to social media to accuse coach Steve Sarkisian of racism.
Brown posted a photo on his Instagram page that read, “COULDN’T PLAY FOR A RACIST MAN!!!!”
In the caption, Brown added that “Sark treated me like a slave in his office.” When informed of the post, Sarkisian said he was “shocked” and called the allegations “ridiculous.”
Brown’s claim was just the latest in the wild times in Los Angeles. On Thursday, Sarkisian said he shares blame with the athletic department for publicizing Shaw’s bogus story about injuring his ankles while saving his nephew from drowning.
The suspended Shaw could “potentially” return to the Trojans at some point this season. Sarkisian added.
“Obviously there’s some other things that need to take place,” Sarkisian said. “But in the meantime, he’s got to take care of his health and take care of himself, and when the time is right to bring him back, we will.”
The first-year coach said Shaw still hasn’t told the Trojans exactly how he sprained both of his ankles last weekend.
Shaw admitted his elaborate story of heroism was a lie Wednesday in a meeting with USC officials, but he offered no alternative explanation. Shaw was accompanied by attorney Donald Etra, who said Shaw’s injury involved no criminal activity.
Sarkisian also expressed regret for USC’s decision to publicize Shaw’s tall tale, saying it “had as much to do with me as anybody else.”
“Moving forward, we’ll be a little bit more patient,” Sarkisian said. “I just felt like the last thing we needed was Josh Shaw rolling around in a wheelchair and everybody saying what happened. We tried to get in front of it, and it didn’t work out for us, but again, it’s disappointing, but we’ll always continue to support Josh in his efforts. He’s a Trojan. He made a mistake, which kids make, but we’ve got to be here for them and help them get better.”
USC kept with its usual policy of making no players available to reporters on Thursdays before games. Sarkisian said the 15th-ranked Trojans showed no signs of distraction while they went through a spirited practice for Saturday’s season opener against Fresno State.
Sarkisian didn’t seem concerned that Shaw hadn’t given him the true explanation for his injuries.
“He was unable to,” Sarkisian said. “(When) he actually admitted to us that he was lying, it was in the presence of his attorney, and so really that’s a better question for his attorney. He didn’t tell us, and we weren’t really privy to ask, quite honestly.”