♫ Insanity’s everywhere
Must be something in the air ♫
— “Killing for Jesus,” Circle Jerks
Stretch, hydrate and eat a banana. This one will take a while.
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan (R) spent this past week lying about his knowledge of sexual abuse and exploitation of university wrestlers he coached during the 1980s and 1990s. No, Uvular will not qualify that. Jordan lied, and he will continue lying. Read on to learn how and why your adamant Weekend Politics Thread avers this.
Each day, a new athlete went public with stories of getting groped, ogled while showering, and having to watch people unaffiliated with the Ohio State wrestling team have sex in the wrestling room. The wrestlers’ stories exist as just one part of a larger, decades-long crime and cover-up involving the school’s official athletic department physician, Richard Strauss.
No one denies that Strauss and others used their institutional power and implied threats of cancelling scholarships to do what USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar did. And possibly what Penn State assistant football coach and (ugh) youth home founder Jerry Sandusky did.
For his part, Jordan merely insists he never saw nor heard anything at the time. He swears he would have ended the nightmare if someone had just brought the matter to his attention. Citing accounts from a half-dozen wrestlers Jordan coached, Politico describes the scene in which Jordan appeared but somehow never noticed this way: “They were regularly harassed in their training facility by sexually aggressive men who attended the university or worked there. 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.”
At least one of Jordan’s charges recounts instances when Jordan physically ejected creeps or worse from the wrestling room.
Against this credible testimony from victims, Jordan spins an incredible tale in which he stands as the betrayed and aggrieved. An interview with Fox News’1 Brett Baier devolved into a besmirching of one less-than-perfect abuse sufferer2 sprinkled liberally with asides that “locker room talk” excused any actual touching of the bad kind. Which sounds damnably familiar.
Your now-sedentary Weekend Politics Thread host wrestled in high school and spent nearly fifteen years after that lifting weights seriously in the kinds of gyms that good people do not enter.3 He engaged in some regrettable behavior in the name of hazing and “team-building.” He owns that and apologizes for what little good it does now. He could never dream of denying that he may have hurt more than feelings. Only a monster would.
Sooner or later, evidence showing that Jordan knew about and even did act to stop the mistreatment of his wrestlers will see the light of day. Those kinds of facts always shine through once people start blowing away the cobwebs of memories long buried. The Jordan of 20-30 years ago will look ineffective against the vast machinery of big-money college athletics. He won’t enjoy that, but he will get points for trying. Windmills deserve every tilting they receive.4
Or, Uvular must qualify, history’s Jordan would look willing but unable except for the fact that he has changed the story to one of his virgin eyes and unsullied conscience. Uvular suspects that Jordan fears looking “weak” more than he cares about getting revealed as a liar. Certainly, his performances in the U.S. House during hearings into scandals ranging for B-BENGHAZI!!!5 to Russian election hacking show him as no slave to the truth.
But consider what about the Ohio State sexual abuse story could deflate his own sense of manly rectitude. As a coach, he had one job above all others: Protect his athletes. He will not now even admit that he tried but failed to meet that responsibility. He would rather go down as both a liar6 and a bad coach who did not intervene on behalf of kids in peril than admit that he could not emerge as the hero. Now, only to play keyboard psychologist to the extent already done, that makes Jordan pathologically obsessed with preserving his own myth. And the United States has more than enough of those types of damaged individuals in the power structure of Washington, DC, right now.
Jordan’s Democratic opponent in the 2018 midterm election, Janet Garrett, has little chance of unseating the congressman for the gerrymandered-all-to-Hell Ohio 4th District. Which represents more than a shame. If only Jordan could feel shame.
Purify your own selves in the waters of Lake Minne … er, Comment below.