Strange things are afoot in Southern California.
First came the too good to be true tale of cornerback Josh Shaw, who told his coaches and the world that he jumped out of a second-story window while trying to save his nephew from drowning.
That turned out to be false.
Then came the news that USC's senior running back Anthony Brown quit the team Thursday while calling head coach Steve Sarkisian a racist.
"Sark treated me like a slave in his Office...Can't play for a racist MAN!!!!! #Fighton," Brown posted on his Instragram account, "_moneyab."
The post was deleted later. Brown did not explain what spurred his accusations.
Brown was a little-known backup player, a cornerback who was converted to running back this offseason. He had six starts and 43 tackles in his college career but was dealing with injuries over the summer.
Sarkisian told reporters he wasn't sure where the racist claims came from.
"I think it's ridiculous," Sarkisian told ESPN and other media outlets. "Any of you guys that know me and if you ask anybody in our building, any of our players -- feel free to -- that's about the furthest thing from the truth."
"Quite honestly, I'm shocked," he said.
Sarkisian said that Brown had recently informed him that he was quitting the team.
"We obviously tried to encourage him not to quit," Sarkisian said. "We really tried to make it a point to accomodate the position change he wanted."
Redshirt junior Antwaun Woods responded to Brown's comments on Twitter, defending his coach and saying that he is "a great person."
"Please disregard comments that have been made by someone," Woods tweeted.
When Southern California athletic director Pat Haden hired Sarkisian, he was hoping the former USC assistant could bring some consistency back to the head coaching position.
Sarkisian was the head coach of the University of Washington Huskies from 2009 to 2013, but before that helped call offensive plays for USC from 2005 to 2008. That time represented some of the school's most successful seasons, including its march to the national championship when it lost to the Texas Longhorns in a 41-38 classic in 2005.
Sarkisian's return was meant to bring back those glory days.
That very well might still happen.
But the events of this past week certainly complicate matters before USC's season opener at home gainst Fresno State on Saturday. And if Sarkisian rewrites the Trojans legacy and restores them to glory, he will probably want to skip over these two moments in his autobiography.
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