Josh Shaw was Friday for betting on NFL games on multiple occasions this year, creating shockwaves throughout the league as a player engaged himself in the betting aspect of the game. The league discovered no manipulation of games Shaw played in nor any inside information was used for the games Shaw bet on, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear where the league stood on gambling.
"If you work in the NFL in any capacity, you may not bet on NFL football."
Shaw was suspended until the end of the 2020 season and can reapply for reinstatement in 2021. So who is Josh Shaw and how did he get to this point in his career? This isn't the first time Shaw has made national news off the football field.
Started his college career at Florida, a former five-star prospect
Shaw was one of the highly-sought-after players in the country after being ranked as a five-star safety by 247Sports in the class of 2010. He was ranked 22nd overall and the No. 2 cornerback in the class out of Palmdale High School in Palmdale, California. Shaw had 50 tackles and an interception on defense while throwing for 2,279 yards with 18 touchdowns and rushing for 921 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Shaw played two seasons at Florida before transferring to USC and playing immediately after being granted a hardship waiver.
Suspended by USC after being caught in a lie regarding an injury
In his final season at USC, Shaw told the school he suffered two high ankle sprains while trying to save his drowning nephew in a pool. While initially being regarded as a hero, the school eventually discovered the truth about Shaw's injury after he admitted to the Los Angeles Times why he jumped out of a balcony to save his nephew in the first place.
The story was completely different:
On Aug. 23, after the annual Salute to Troy barbecue on campus, one week before the season opener against Fresno State, Shaw went home to meet [girlfriend Angela] Chilton, whom he has dated for more than seven years. They started arguing and Chilton ran out of the apartment and disappeared down the hall.
"We just got into an argument just like every couple does," Shaw said. "Was it loud? Yes. Was it overly loud? I don't think so."
Shaw remained in the apartment until he heard noise below his balcony. He walked outside to see police cars pulling up on the street. Shaw and Chilton adamantly deny the argument ever became physical — "I would never, ever hit a woman," Shaw said — but he worried about appearances.
"We were not on good terms when she left, I thought she had somebody call authorities. I was thinking the worst," he said. "If she did say anything, I'm a black man with dreadlocks, and with everything going on in the country at the time, all that stuff in St. Louis [Ferguson, Mo.] … in my mind, I'm going to leap from the balcony so authorities did not see me."
and Shaw was reinstated in November. He played the final three games for USC.
Strong performance at the NFL combine after suspension
Despite his problems at USC, Shaw had one chance to prove himself at the NFL combine. The safety lived up to his five-star status by posting impressive numbers. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds, which was tied for the third-fastest time among 29 defensive backs. He also benched pressed 225 pounds 26 times, which was the most at his position.
Drafted by the Bengals despite character concerns
Cincinnati took a shot with Shaw by selecting him in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft (No. 120 overall). Shaw was known as a special teams standout at USC and answered all the questions regarding his character concerns.
"It was the first time in my life that I really hit ground bottom," Shaw said, via Cincinnati.com. "For me being able to overcome that with my family it was definitely hard at times. I know I am selected today in the fourth round because of that."
Only career interception in NFL was a game-winner
Shaw has just one career interception in 55 career NF games (14 starts), but he made sure it counted. In Week 1 of the 2016 season, Shaw picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick to seal the Bengals 23-22 victory with 40 seconds left to get Cincinnati to 1-0.
Shaw had a key interception off Derek Carr at USC, but this one certainly was the biggest play of his NFL career.
Shaw is the first player suspended for gambling in 36 years
Shaw is the first player to get suspended by the NFL for gambling in 36 years, with the last player to serve a suspension being Art Schlichter. The former Baltimore Colts quarterback bet his $350,000 signing bonus on football games, but not Colts games. Schlichter lost $489,000 betting on basketball games and told the NFL he feared the bookies would force him to throw games, cooperating in an investigation with the FBI. Despite being suspended indefinitely, Schlichter was reinstated in 1984.
The other two players suspended for betting on games: Hall of Famers Paul Horning and Alex Karras.