“Do you really want a guy in that job who chose not to stand up for his guys?” That’s what Ohio State University wrestler Mike Schyck told NBC News about Rep. Jim Jordan, the former assistant coach who allegedly stood by in silence while his charges were being sexually abused by team doctor Richard Strauss.
A group of the former student-athletes is speaking out about Jordan once again, because he was put forward as a viable candidate to be speaker of the House—second in line to the presidency. They think he should be nowhere near the job. It looks as though a slim majority of House Republicans might agree. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise narrowly got the nod from his fellow GOP members Wednesday, ahead of what could be another drawn-out and bruising fight on the floor. Nevertheless, in today’s MAGA-dominated Republican Party, Jordan was able to rise to these heights and be a contender for the job.
That’s why former student-athletes are speaking out.
Jordan’s “hypocrisy is unbelievable,” said Dunyasha Yetts, another former OSU wrestler. “He doesn’t deserve to be House speaker. He still has to answer for what happened to us.” Yetts recounted an incident in which he went to see Strauss for a thumb injury and the doctor tried to pull his pants down. He said he immediately told Jordan and then-head wrestling coach Russ Hellickson about the incident. They then went to confront the doctor. In the years since, Jordan has claimed he had zero knowledge of any abuse.
Another alleged victim, Rocky Ratliff, is now a lawyer representing some of the plaintiffs suing the school. He said Jordan “abandoned his former wrestlers in the Ohio State sexual abuse scandal and cover-up.”
One of the alleged victims, who thinks Jordan is politically qualified for the speaker job, would not endorse him. “My problem with Jimmy is that he has been playing with words instead of supporting us,” the anonymous man told NBC News. “None of us used the words ‘sexual abuse’ when we talked about what Doc Strauss was doing to us, we just knew it was weird and Jimmy knew about it because we talked about it all the time in the locker room, at practices, everywhere.”
Jordan didn’t respond to the allegations directly, but his spokesman Russell Dye issued this statement: “Chairman Jordan never saw or heard of any abuse, and if he had, he would have dealt with it.”
That’s a reflection of Jordan’s lack of character, said Schyck. “He put himself in this position,” he said. “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.”
This same lack of principles and character made Jordan one of Donald Trump’s most stalwart supporters all the way through the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Jordan was at the center of Trump’s attempted coup, advising Trump by phone that morning. He was one of the loudest proponents of Trump’s Big Lie.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that he’s sticking with his OSU lie, considering that he’s sticking with Trump’s Big Lie and using his power within the House to try to bring down Joe Biden’s presidency.
It’s a reflection of what the GOP has become that Jordan is a serious contender to be second in line to the presidency. Not that ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy or Scalise are that much better: Both of them voted to overturn the 2020 election on the night of Jan. 6, after the Trump mob ransacked the Capitol and threatened their lives.