Former Ohio State wrestlers who accuse Jim Jordan of ignoring sexual abuse when he was a coach said the hard-right Republican should not be elected speaker of the US House.
“Do you really want a guy in that job who chose not to stand up for his guys?” Mike Schyck, one of hundreds of wrestlers who say they were assaulted by a team doctor, told NBC News. “Is that the kind of character trait you want for a House speaker?”
Another former wrestler, Dunyasha Yetts, told NBC: “He doesn’t deserve to be House speaker. He still has to answer for what happened to us.”
Jordan, 59 and a founder of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, is competing for the speakership with Steve Scalise, the majority leader from Louisiana, after the historic ejection of Kevin McCarthy by disgruntled right-wingers last week. Jordan has secured the endorsement of Donald Trump, the presidential frontrunner whose supporters orchestrated McCarthy’s defenestration.
Before entering politics, Jordan was an assistant OSU wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994. Former athletes have said he ignored rampant sexual abuse by Richard Strauss, a team doctor who died in 2005.
Jordan has long denied helping orchestrate a cover-up. On Tuesday, a spokesperson told NBC: “Chairman Jordan never saw or heard of any abuse, and if he had, he would have dealt with it.”
But Jordan also refused to co-operate with an official investigation which found Strauss’s abuse was an “open secret”, and that “coaches, trainers and other team physicians were fully aware of Strauss’ activities, and yet few seemed inclined to do anything to stop it”.
At one hearing, another former wrestler, Adam DiSabato, said: “Jim Jordan called me crying, crying, groveling, on the Fourth of July … begging me to go against my brother, begging me, crying for half an hour. That’s the kind of cover-up that’s going on here. He’s a coward. He’s a coward.”
Yetts has previously said: “If Jordan says he didn’t know about it, then he’s lying.”
Speaking to NBC, another former wrestler, Rocky Ratliff, said Jordan “abandoned his former wrestlers in the Ohio State sexual abuse scandal and cover-up”.
As the lingering scandal has not stopped Jordan in his political tracks, so it may not stop his attempt to be speaker. Last weekend, one of the rebels who voted out McCarthy, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, told CBS she supported Jordan for speaker. Mace also said she was “not familiar or aware” of the OSU scandal, adding: “He’s not indicted on anything that I’m aware of. I don’t know anything and can’t speak to that.”
Schyck told NBC he was himself a Republican, and Jordan “was somebody I revered, somebody I looked up to.
“If early on he jumped in on our side and validated what we were saying, what everybody knew about what Dr Strauss was doing to us, then this wouldn’t be happening. But he decided early on, for reasons I still don’t understand, that he was going to deny knowing anything about this.
“Now he’s got no choice but to stick to this story that he had no idea what Dr Strauss was doing, even though it’s a lie.”
OSU has paid $60m to 296 victims of Strauss. Other lawsuits remain unresolved.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/oct/11/jim-jordan-house-speaker-ohio-state-wrestlers-abuse Ex-Ohio State wrestlers say Jim Jordan unfit for speakership for ignoring sexual abuse scandal | Republicans