A former Ohio State University wrestler and UFC champion has changed his story about Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) knowledge of alleged sexual abuse by a former team doctor during his tenure, according to Fox News.
The wrestler, Mark Coleman, issued a statement through the public relations company retained by Jordan, denying that he ever said Jordan knew of the abuse.
“At no time did I ever say or have any direct knowledge that Jim Jordan knew of Dr. Richard Strauss’s inappropriate behavior,” Coleman said in the statement. “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.”
What did he say before?
Coleman’s statement might not have raised eyebrows had it not been for his previous comments on this issue.
Just last month, Coleman told The Wall Street Journal that there was “no way” Jordan didn’t know what was going on.
“There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State,” Coleman said in that report. “I have nothing but respect for the man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned.”
Coleman said he was responding due to “comments attributed to him that were not accurate or misconstrued by media outlets.”
What’s going on here?
The sudden change in tone from Coleman brings to mind a report from last week, in which it was revealed that former Ohio State head coach Russ Hellickson was reaching out to some former wrestlers and asking them to issue statements clarifying or correcting their stance on Jordan.
In texts to former wrestler Dunyasha Yetts, Hellickson suggested Yetts issue a statement “that tells your story and corrects what you feel bad about. I can put you in contact with someone who would release it.”
It’s unknown whether Hellickson reached out to Coleman, who was also a former assistant coach at Ohio State.
Jordan, who is making a run at replacing Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as speaker of the House, has denied from the beginning that he had any knowledge that Strauss was abusing athletes.