Just before Jim Jordan sat down with Bret Baier to dodge the sexual abuse scandal nipping at his heels, POLITICO published a report that made the OSU wrestling training facility sound like a Roman bathhouse.
A half-dozen ex-wrestlers told POLITICO they were regularly harassed in their training facility by sexually aggressive men who attended or worked at the university. The voyeurs would masturbate while watching the wrestlers shower or sit in the sauna, or engage in sexual acts in the areas where the athletes trained, the former wrestlers said.
No one interviewed for that article would say that Jordan didn't know about it. In fact, Jordan's mentor and head coach had to periodically clear out the gawkers:
Larkins Hall, the building that housed athletic teams, became such a well-known target that people who frequented it at the time have reminisced in anonymous postings online how easy it was to ogle naked members of the wrestling team.
The situation was so egregious that former wrestling head coach Russ Hellickson would at times have to physically drag the gawkers out of the building, several sources familiar with his actions at the time said. Hellickson also pleaded with the university multiple times to move their athletes to a private facility, the sources said. Jordan served as Hellickson’s No. 2, and the coach has been described as Jordan’s mentor.
Yet, Jordan went on the air with Bret Baier today and split semantic hairs in order to keep denying that he knew nothing, saw nothing, and heard nothing about any sexual abuse in an era where AIDS awareness was becoming an up-front issue and risky sexual behavior could actually become a life-or-death occurrence.
"I never saw, heard of, never was told about any type of abuse," Jordan insisted to Baier. "If I had been, I would have dealt with it our coaching staff, we would have dealt with it these were our student athletes."
Now after reading that, go back and read those quoted paragraphs again, where the head coach of a program where Jordan was number 2 was pleading with OSU to move the training facilities elsewhere.
The team doctor would fondle athletes who came in for a thumb injury, according to other reports. This was the biggest open secret in the program but the assistant coach never saw anything like that.
Baier confronted him with the reports from multiple wrestlers, holding nothing back, which is when we got to the chapter where Jordan splits some semantic hairs.
You see, it's not that he didn't know there was behavior, it's just that it's guy behavior. Wrestler behavior. Locker room stuff.
"Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse or reported abuse to us," Jordan claimed, when confronted with the fact that at least some of the accusers claim they had conversations with him about what was going on.
This was the 90s, after all. No one talked about those things in those terms, as a former wrestler observed to POLITICO, too. And if there was some "deviant behavior," that didn't necessarily mean abuse.
"Coaching my athletes in Larkins Hall was one of the most difficult things I ever did," said a former wrestling coach who worked with Jordan but asked not to be named. "It was a cesspool of deviancy. And that's a whole 'nother story that no one has addressed."
"Was there some deviant behavior? … Was there behavior when guys were coming into the sauna and showers, was there sexual misconduct? No one is denying that," said ex-OSU wrestler George Pardos of Larkins Hall in an interview. He defended Jordan as "one of the most honest men I've ever known.”
See, it was just sexual misconduct! Not abuse! Just boys being boys.
Jordan, in classic Republican fashion, went after accuser Mike DiSabato with special intensity, accusing him of having a vendetta against OSU, making threats, and more. Of course, that doesn't explain the corroboration DiSabato has with other witnesses, nor did Jordan actually address that little problem in detail either. Why deal with the truth when you can lie that way?
The more Baier pushed, the more he filibustered. He has all sorts of conspiracy theories for why this story has traction, but none of them acknowledge the truth. The best he can do is this:
"As I said before, conversations in the locker room are a lot different than someone coming up to you and saying there was some kind of abuse."
What Jordan fails to understand here is the depth of denial he is wallowing in when he splits hairs and writes off reports of clear-cut sexual abuse to "locker room talk."
This interview did not clarify anything, and at best held Fox News viewers at bay. But there is far too much smoke here to ignore. Just re-read those accounts of the voyeurism and imagine the number 2 guy knowing nothing, hearing nothing, seeing nothing.
Another conservative with Ohio ties told cleveland.com that Goodman engaged in predatory behavior toward younger men after leaving Jordan's office, sending inappropriate material and propositioning them via text message and Facebook messenger.
The conservative operative said he'd target college kids who wanted to have him as a mentor and were scared to report his sexual advances because they didn't want to damage their own careers. A former co-worker shared screenshots of messages Goodman sent him that the operative likened to the lewd texts that derailed the congressional career of New York's Anthony Weiner.
There are just too many ties between Jordan and sexual predators to ignore. He can deny it to Fox News all day long, but this is six coincidences too many.