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Almost heroes

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere.

Despite Josh Shaw being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, we've found out recently that he's no superhero.

The USC defensive back achieved national notoriety last Monday when the school published a story on their website detailing the heroics of Shaw over the weekend.

Shaw claimed that he injured both of his ankles after jumping off of the second floor of an apartment building in Palmdale to save his 7-year-old nephew from drowning in a nearby pool.

The jump sprained both of his ankles, but that didn't stop Shaw from completing a rescue that would have made David Hasselhoff proud. He gutted it out, dove into the water and fished out his nephew--saving him from certain death.

As with many things that hit the Internet, the legend grew. In just a few quick hours, he had become a household name and was being showered with compliments and being proclaimed a "hero."

If the story could have just made it another day, we probably would have seen the president give him some kind of shout-out. However, the ode to unmatched selflessness and courage fell apart quickly.

Reports began to emerge that the LAPD reported a disturbance call on Saturday that involved a man named Joshua Shaw--that matched the USC safety's description--leaping off of an apartment balcony.

After more and more media outlets began digging and asking questions, Shaw finally had to come clean and admit that it was all just an elaborate lie.

As it turns out, the cops came to the Orsini Apartments--where Shaw lives--to check in on reports of a woman screaming from the third-floor.

When they got there, the apartment was empty, but a neighbor said they saw a man jump off of the balcony.

No charges were filed, but it didn't really matter. It was enough to obliterate Shaw's inspiring tale of heroism and result in a team-imposed suspension.

And as a result of him becoming the Milli Vanilli of heroes, he now gets to be the butt of our jokes.

It's too bad; I was really looking forward to the Coliseum blasting Enrique Iglesias' "I can be Your Hero" every time he made a big play for the Trojans this season.

He now joins an infamous list of athletes that captivated us all just for us to find out later that it was just a fantasy.

Of course, just last year, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o had the whole nation rooting for him as he played in honor of his fallen girlfriend.

But just after the season, we found out that his girlfriend never existed. He claims he was hoaxed by a disturbed individual that apparently had a lot of time on his hands.

The result was an endless string of comedy that we can still enjoy till this day.

In fact, the Te'o hoax and Shaw's tall tale have merged when it comes to the Internet. There is a clever meme out there with a picture of Te'o and the line, "Josh Shaw didn't lie about saving his nephew. My girlfriend saw the whole thing."

Rosie Ruiz was another notorious figure that took the sports world for a ride. Initially, she was declared the winner of the 1980 Boston Marathon.

But after many witnesses came forward claiming she did not run the entire marathon and with her not appearing in many pictures and video footage of the race, an investigation was launched.

The investigation showed that she didn't enter the race until the final half-mile. Therefore, she was stripped of the title.

Then there was Danny Almonte. He helped lead his Bronx team to the 2001 Little League World Series and pitched the event's first-ever perfect game.

But questions began to arise regarding his age. After some extensive digging, it was discovered that Almonte was 14 years old--two years over the age limit--making him immediately ineligible.

The Bronx had to settle for the United States runner-up trophy.

And finally, you have all of the steroid users throughout the years.

Lance Armstrong was a beacon of hope for so long as he beat cancer and won seven straight Tour de France titles.

There were suspicions of steroid use for years, but he always steadfastly denied it until just recently. It was then that he finally confessed that he was in fact juicing during his victories.

In a 2005 congressional hearing, Rafael Palmero waved his finger at the committee and declared that he had never taken steroids. Less than a month later, he tested positive for performance enhancers.

Mark McGwire always denied using the juice to break Roger Maris' record for most home runs in a season but in 2010, he finally came clean and admitted that the memorable, record-breaking summer of '98 was a fraud.

And since, Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun have both been caught red-handed even though they defiantly denied all allegations for years prior.

I think the lesson we've learned here is to be honest because the truth will always come to light--especially in today's world with so many eyes and so many resources at our disposal.

Overnight, you can go from being beloved to hated, or you can get the Manti Te'o and Josh Shaw treatment and become punchlines to a million different jokes.