A former Ohio State University wrestling coach says comments attributed to him regarding Rep. Jim Jordan were not accurate or were misconstrued by media, distancing himself from the Ohio Republican’s chief accuser, who maintains the congressman ignored claims of sexual abuse while serving as an assistant coach more than two decades ago.
Mark Coleman, who wrestled at OSU and later served as an assistant wrestling coach, said that “at no time did I ever say or have any direct knowledge that Jim Jordan knew of Dr. Richard Strauss’s inappropriate behavior.”
“I have nothing but respect for Jim Jordan as I have known him for more than 30 years and know him to be of impeccable character,” said Coleman, a former UFC champion.
The university is investigating claims by student-athletes of abuse by Strauss, the sports doctor for numerous teams for nearly two decades. Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994.
As WND reported, 14 former Ohio State University wrestlers already have joined six former OSU wrestling coaches, including the head coach under whom Jordan served, in stating they, too, were unaware of any claims of sexual abuse by Strauss. And the wrestlers described Jordan as a man of honesty and integrity who stood up for his athletes.
Coleman made it clear he is distancing himself from the primary accuser in the case, Mike DiSabato, who has brought several lawsuits against OSU in recent years.
“Mike DiSabato and his PR representative have released information and made statements publicly without my authorization and, in my opinion, are using them to exploit and embarrass The Ohio State University,” said Coleman.
DiSabato, he said, “is not my manager and does not speak for me.”
“I am also disappointed with many of the public statements made by Mr. DiSabato and his personal attacks on individuals employed by the university and others.”
Coleman said he was a “victim of Strauss” and wishes “to cooperate with the investigation to see that whatever justice is available is achieved.”
The number of alleged victims – more than 1,500 across at least 15 varsity sports at Ohio State – threatens to dwarf the historic $500 million case recently settled at Big Ten counterpart Michigan State, where more than 300 victims filed suit in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.
President Trump, along with House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the conservative House Freedom Caucus have stated they believe Jordan.
Jordan and some of his defenders have suggested there may be political motives behind the accusations against him, arguing he is regarded as a candidate to succeed Ryan as House speaker and has been a leader in confronting the Justice Department and FBI for their handling of the Hillary Clinton email and Russia probes. The investigation of the Strauss allegations at Ohio State is being led by Perkins Coie, the Seattle law firm retained by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign that figured in the anti-Trump “dossier.”
Jordan noted that CNN was trying to contact every one of the more than 100 staff members and interns associated with the OSU wrestling program during Jordan’s tenure, “asking for dirt on me.”
“I never saw, never heard of, I never was told about any type of abuse,” Jordan said.
“If I had been, I would have dealt with it. Our coaching staff – we would have dealt with it – these were our student athletes,” said Jordan.
“A good coach puts the interest of student athletes first. We would have dealt with it if we had known about anything that happened.”
Jim Jordan is a man of integrity, and we believe him and stand with him 100 percent. If he had seen or heard something he would have acted. We continue to support his work in Congress to fight for everyday Americans.
— House Freedom Caucus (@freedomcaucus) July 11, 2018
Jordan was a four-time state wrestling champion in high school in Ohio and won two NCAA titles, in 1985 and 1986, for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He twice defeated future two-time Olympic gold medalist John Smith in an NCAA tournament in 1985.
In the interview with Baier, Jordan said he believes that DiSabato “has a vendetta against Ohio State,” pointing out DiSabato lost a licensing agreement with the university, was caught “bilking” a fund for a slain Marine and was arrested five months ago for threatening the lawyer of Chris Spielman, the former football star who is suing OSU over the marketing of his name. Another accuser, Dunyasha Yetts, is a convicted criminal who spent 18 months in prison, Jordan noted.