March 8, 2020

It's long past time someone starts holding Jim Jordan's feet to the fire over this scandal:

Tito Vazquez says he still remembers the day three decades ago when, as a wrestler at Ohio State University, the doctor he'd gone to see about a bloody nose insisted on examining his genitals. He also recalls how one of his coaches dismissed his immediate complaint.

"'I have nothing to do with this,'" Vazquez quoted the assistant coach saying, as he effectively ended the conversation and went on with wrestling practice.

That coach, Vazquez says, was Jim Jordan, now an Ohio congressman and an influential voice in Republican politics, perhaps best known for his pugnacious defense of President Donald Trump during the recent impeachment proceedings.

Vazquez is one of six former OSU wrestlers who told CNN in recent interviews that they were present when Jordan heard or responded to sexual misconduct complaints about team doctor Richard Strauss. Eight others say Strauss' inappropriate behavior was an open secret in the athletic department and that Jordan, among others, must have known about it.


Multiple former OSU athletes told CNN they found Jordan's denials puzzling, because they say they distinctly remember him responding to complaints about Strauss.

One former wrestler, Dan Ritchie, said he remembers a teammate complained about Strauss and that Jordan said, "If he ever tried that with me I'd snap his neck like a stick of dry balsa wood."

Ritchie said Strauss' behavior was an ongoing, uncomfortable joke among athletes.

He said Strauss tried to "groom" students to accept the inappropriate nature of the examinations, which became increasingly abusive over time. Ritchie said he ultimately quit the team because of Strauss' behavior.

"When we heard Jim say he wasn't aware, everyone just thought, 'Are you kidding?'" Ritchie said. "I like Jimmy, but I think he took the wrong stance off the get go and now he can't backtrack."

Of course, Jordan continues to deny any knowledge of the abuse:

In an interview with CNN last week, Jordan again denied having prior knowledge of any abuse by Strauss and said he found it interesting that more former student-athletes have spoken out given the possibility of OSU paying them settlement money.

"The idea that I wouldn't stand up for these athletes is ridiculous," Jordan said. "I feel sorry for these guys, the fact that they aren't telling the truth. I mean these are guys I trained with, these are guys I worked out with, I ran with, wrestled with, and the idea that now they are saying what they are, it's just not true."

CNN reports that the "state House of Representatives is considering a bill that would lift the statute of limitations for Strauss' victims and clear the way for them to sue OSU." I'd love to see them be allowed to sue Jordan as well.

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