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dmm53

Flo's silence on the Ohio State accusations & Jim Jordan story

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This is an important story that affects wrestling and the perceptions in the larger community.

 

FLO positions (or imagines) itself at the forefront of wrestling debate and discussion, and they devote shows (particularly FRL) to all kinds of sundry and very tangential matters -- football, food, airport travel, gossip, twitter feuds, MMA, El Chapo, dating advice, the Urban Meyer investigation,  etc.  

 

I can't recall, however, a single mention of the tOSU controversy or emerging scandal and certainly not an in-depth or ongoing engagement with it.  Have we (and they) missed something?  Are they too financially or personally compromised, too close to the accused, or (gasp) too concerned about rocking the boat (or even something worse)?

 

Their silence is speaking loudly.

 

The story has been covered in all the major TV networks and newspapers.  It has been picked up abroad.  There are topics devoted to it on most of the major wrestling forums.  Today, for example, the New York Times had a piece on the subject:

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/02/us/politics/ohio-state-wrestlers-abuse-me-too.html?WT.nav=top-news&action=click&clickSource=story-heading&hp&modref=HPCommentsRefer&module=second-column-region&pgtype=Homepage&region=top-news&target=comments

 

No matter what your view is on the unfolding story, it merits coverage.  Intermat has addressed it, at least in passing a few times.  Will FLO step up to the plate?  While they do a good job in many areas, I can't recall them ever dealing seriously with other controversial social issues that connect with wrestling such as race relations or discrimination domestically or nationally.    (I'm quite certain this is a robust topic, especially given the tensions in Russia, Iran, the US and Eastern European countries, and I would bet some of the top American wrestlers who are black and Latino would have a few interesting things to contribute to the conversation.)

 

I don't follow professional (aka fake) wrestling, but here is a vaguely analogous and problematic world:

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/07/the-not-so-fictional-bias-in-the-wwe-world-championship/374042/

 

Aside: has wrestling ever had a figure even remotely comparable to Mohammed Ali (boxing) or Jackie Robinson (baseball) or Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson (tennis) or Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Jesse Owens (track and field) or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  (basketball) or Jim Brown (football)?  If not, why not?  Is wrestling so entrenched in certain practices, assumptions, material realities, and social circumstances that it discourages and even punishes guys (or women) from stepping forth and addressing larger concerns?   (I'm curious what Jordan Borroughs, one of the American superstars, might have to say on social matters, particularly as they relate to the wrestling and athletic world.)

Edited by dmm53

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So dr strauss's 1990's weirdness, creepiness, and voyeurism is all the fault of some low level asst. wrestling coach.

 

Today's victims laughed and joked about Strauss being creepy. Now they want a big pay day.

It is common for victims to downplay abuse. You don’t know what you are talking about. Don’t shame victims.

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Without being a victim, the whole "I would have" commentary is idiotic and demeaning to those who actually have been.  All of us can claim we'd run into a building with an active shooter or a blazing fire at a safe distance from reality--easy to claim but much harder decision to make in real time.

 

The Joe Paterno scandal should have put all big-time coaches on call: I didn't know, I wasn't aware, I can't remember, and nobody told me don't cut it. As head coach, it's your job to know. You have to know your staff, including assistant coaches, team doctors, trainers, boosters, academic advisors, etc. It's your responsibility to know, be aware, listen, ask questions, and remember. You take the praise, the adulation, the paychecks, the perks, you also take full ownership of what happens on your watch. Championship rings don't excuse willful obliviousness. Hellickson has admitted that Strauss was too "hands on" with the guys and his behavior was more than just "odd" (showering with team members several times a day for an hour at a stretch--Doc sure was the clean-freak).  Hellickson thought it was significant enough to report it to superiors and get his team moved out of Larkins Hall. And Dr. Strauss has been implicated by more than wrestlers, so this isn't just some off-the-wall accusation by money-grubbing ex-wrestlers.  Are some of those who wrestled involved in the current accusations just looking for a payday?  Very possible, but I'll wait until an outside agency investigates or a judge and/or jury rules on the matter.

 

And Ohio State's issues run far deeper than weird Dr. Strauss and the wrestling team.  The exploding Urban Meyer situation is proof of that.  Meyer ran a sleaze factory at Florida (over 30 players arrested, a dozen of those initial felonies or violence-related) but he won and all was forgiven or swept away. He seemed to clean up his act at OSU and I've enjoyed watching his teams compete, so we'll see where this leads.  And don't forget that Meyer replaced a championship coach who lied to investigators and lost his job because of it.  Basically, you're seeing a massive lack of institutional control at all levels at tOSU, and it's not just related to wrestling and decades-old accusations.

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It is common for victims to downplay abuse. You don’t know what you are talking about. Don’t shame victims.

Good to see some compassion on a forum.  This is close to being a political issue as well as a social issue because of Jordan's position in the House.  But it probably shouldn't be.  Jordan's camp has circled the wagons and is apparently applying pressure on people in a position to know what went on to keep their mouths shut.  Jordan's knee jerk reaction was to deny, deny.  But now that denial is coming back to bite him on the butt.  

 

Some of the witnesses to this sordid mess make a very good case that Jordan MUST have known about what was going on since it was often discussed in the locker room.  A couple of wrestlers who are his strong political supporters gave very convincing statements that Jordan's must have had knowledge of what was gong on.

 

Who knows what Jordan should have/could have done at that time. Given the circumstances, who knows what they themselves would have done?  But Jordan has dug himself a bit of a hole.  Don't think it will hurt his career, but maybe he can learn something about truthiness.

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Good to see some compassion on a forum.  This is close to being a political issue as well as a social issue because of Jordan's position in the House.  But it probably shouldn't be.  Jordan's camp has circled the wagons and is apparently applying pressure on people in a position to know what went on to keep their mouths shut.  Jordan's knee jerk reaction was to deny, deny.  But now that denial is coming back to bite him on the butt.  

 

Some of the witnesses to this sordid mess make a very good case that Jordan MUST have known about what was going on since it was often discussed in the locker room.  A couple of wrestlers who are his strong political supporters gave very convincing statements that Jordan's must have had knowledge of what was gong on.

 

Who knows what Jordan should have/could have done at that time. Given the circumstances, who knows what they themselves would have done?  But Jordan has dug himself a bit of a hole.  Don't think it will hurt his career, but maybe he can learn something about truthiness.

I think it would have been fair and plausible for Jordan to say, "I personally had no incidents with the doctor and cannot attest to any inappropriate behavior on his part. There was talk about Strauss, my boss reported the issue to superiors, and it was addressed with the team being moved. As the assistant coach, I was assured the matter was being handled appropriately and had no reason to believe otherwise."  

 

The issue is one where plausibility is a key.  Same with Urban Meyer.  You knew nothing?  Absolutely nothing?  Your wife never mentioned one time that an assistant's wife contacted her numerous times mentioning abuse?  It never came up in any talk around the offices inhabited by dozens of coaches and staff members where personal matters are sometimes discussed besides the regular team business?  Is it possible Meyer knew absolutely nothing, not even a single hint at what was going on with the assistant coach's wife?  Yes. Is it plausible?  Not really.

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What would Flo add to the conversation besides regurgitating the same story? Unless they take a position their story would just be quotes from other news outlets. They aren't going to take a position and nor should they. They are wise to let it play out, otherwise they divide a wrestling fan base and it hurts their brand. Any kind of sentence that leans one way or the other in an article will get them in trouble with some faction.  A factual news story -sure - but that's just repeating everything out there.

 

Frankly, the "guilty until proven innocent" approach in our society is becoming ridiculous. Due process is being thrown out the window and social media opinion and outrage is king. ESPN gave Urban Meyer the death penalty when the investigation was five minutes old. Until the story plays out, investigations are complete, conclusions are made, court decisions are made, Flo is wise to save their commentary. 

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Flo can still analyze the story. There are lots of ways to talk about the situation without taking sides.

 

Flo is staffed with former wrestlers and experts with firsthand exposure to the way that many college wrestling programs around the country are administered. They also have their finger on the pulse of elite prep-level wrestling and could discuss how the case is impacting recruiting and perception among their prospects & commits, given all the unknowns atm. I think Flo could definitely offer up perspectives on the story that few others in the media can.

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What would Flo add to the conversation besides regurgitating the same story? Unless they take a position their story would just be quotes from other news outlets. They aren't going to take a position and nor should they. They are wise to let it play out, otherwise they divide a wrestling fan base and it hurts their brand. Any kind of sentence that leans one way or the other in an article will get them in trouble with some faction.  A factual news story -sure - but that's just repeating everything out there.

 

Frankly, the "guilty until proven innocent" approach in our society is becoming ridiculous. Due process is being thrown out the window and social media opinion and outrage is king. ESPN gave Urban Meyer the death penalty when the investigation was five minutes old. Until the story plays out, investigations are complete, conclusions are made, court decisions are made, Flo is wise to save their commentary. 

I think this is a fair analysis, but it is a developing story and journalists have an obligation to cover it.  I think the problem that Flo has is not that it will take a side (as an objective news source, unless it is publishing an op-ed piece, it should remain completely objective), but that it won't take a side.

 

Following the discussions over the last several weeks, our community seems to be divided into two major camps: the first, the Jordan supporters who find it incredible anyone could believe anything by DiSabito, Yetts, Coleman, etc.; and second, the Jordan detractors who cannot believe that so many people, not all of them even wrestlers, could all be lying.  Both these camps cannot believe anyone with any sense would believe the other, and if Flo were to present both sides of the situation both sides would be pissed that Flo did not take a side (namely theirs).  A third camp, which I would profess to be part of, is taking in all the evidence and trying to make logical sense of everything and awaiting a full collection of evidence to make any final judgments, and that could be months or more away.

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It really is a no-win situation from a journalistic standpoint. I've included numerous links in my daily newsletter from various outlets. No matter what story is clicked in, there's an assumption by either side there is bias. The way our news cycle works, no matter what the source, people are going to find a stance that aligns with their beliefs. 

I'm careful to put stuff that leans too far left or too far right in the way that news is distributed, but it's still even prompted a reader or two of the newsletter to make an assumption of where I align politically (truth: I hate politics, so I don't align anywhere) based on the links I'm including. 

It's tough for any outlet in wrestling to look at this situation without a bias, whether it be siding with a wrestler in congress or against a congressman who is opposite of our political views. I've stayed away from it, also from a personal standpoint because one of the accusers has publicly and personally attacked me in the past. 

 

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It really is a no-win situation from a journalistic standpoint. I've included numerous links in my daily newsletter from various outlets. No matter what story is clicked in, there's an assumption by either side there is bias. The way our news cycle works, no matter what the source, people are going to find a stance that aligns with their beliefs.

 

I'm careful to put stuff that leans too far left or too far right in the way that news is distributed, but it's still even prompted a reader or two of the newsletter to make an assumption of where I align politically (truth: I hate politics, so I don't align anywhere) based on the links I'm including.

 

It's tough for any outlet in wrestling to look at this situation without a bias, whether it be siding with a wrestler in congress or against a congressman who is opposite of our political views. I've stayed away from it, also from a personal standpoint because one of the accusers has publicly and personally attacked me in the past.

 

 

Good post because at the root of your position is mixing politics and sport is an undesirable combination.

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It is common for victims to downplay abuse. You don’t know what you are talking about. Don’t shame victims.

It is probably common that asst. wrestling coaches barely older than their wrestlers also don't know the diff between creepy and abuse, if they know anything at all.

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It is probably common that asst. wrestling coaches barely older than their wrestlers also don't know the diff between creepy and abuse, if they know anything at all.

 

That isn't what caused his name to blow up with regards to the abuse though.  What caused it to blow up was that he claimed he had absolutely no idea that anything at all was going on and called the wrestlers liars.  Which is looking increasingly bad as now more than 100 people have come forward and people are testifying in court about it.  If he'd just said that he didn't realize the extent of what was going on, or that at the time he didn't understand the abuse, or really anything at all other than an outright denial then his name wouldn't be front and center.  Nobody is naming him as a defendant in the case or anything like that. 

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Flo probably could have at least done a piece like the one in the NY Times Frank_Rizzo just posted the link to in one of the other threads.

 

Make the story not so much about Jordan, but about the abuse by Strauss and how yes, it’s possible for big, strong wrestlers to be abused too, even by scrawny middle aged men.

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I think it would have been fair and plausible for Jordan to say, "I personally had no incidents with the doctor and cannot attest to any inappropriate behavior on his part. There was talk about Strauss, my boss reported the issue to superiors, and it was addressed with the team being moved. As the assistant coach, I was assured the matter was being handled appropriately and had no reason to believe otherwise."  

 

The issue is one where plausibility is a key.  Same with Urban Meyer.  You knew nothing?  Absolutely nothing?  Your wife never mentioned one time that an assistant's wife contacted her numerous times mentioning abuse?  It never came up in any talk around the offices inhabited by dozens of coaches and staff members where personal matters are sometimes discussed besides the regular team business?  Is it possible Meyer knew absolutely nothing, not even a single hint at what was going on with the assistant coach's wife?  Yes. Is it plausible?  Not really.

Since this happened year after year to hundreds of people he can't say he had no reason to believe otherwise.  Other than that, I think that is a pretty solid response. He should have ignored the recurring nature of the issue and just regurgitated or repeated variations of that sentence when pressed and forced to address that part.  Or he could have told the truth to begin with.

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That isn't what caused his name to blow up with regards to the abuse though.  What caused it to blow up was that he claimed he had absolutely no idea that anything at all was going on and called the wrestlers liars.  Which is looking increasingly bad as now more than 100 people have come forward and people are testifying in court about it.  If he'd just said that he didn't realize the extent of what was going on, or that at the time he didn't understand the abuse, or really anything at all other than an outright denial then his name wouldn't be front and center.  Nobody is naming him as a defendant in the case or anything like that. 

several lies in your assessment

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