Retired Ohio State wrestling coach Russ Hellickson contacted two former team members and asked them to express support for former assistant coach Rep. Jim Jordan, a day after the former players accused him of turning a blind eye to the team doctor’s alleged sexual abuse, according to the wrestlers and text messages they shared with NBC News.
Hellickson made clear to the wrestlers that Jordan pressured him into obtaining statements of support from members of the team, the former wrestlers said.
Hellickson’s request to the wrestlers came after Jordan said he was unaware that the team doctor, Richard Strauss, was allegedly molesting athletes. The claim contradicted the accounts of three wrestlers, who said Jordan must have known because the abuse was discussed in the locker room.
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“I’m sorry you got caught up in the media train,” Hellickson wrote in a July 4 text to Dunyasha Yetts, a message Yetts shared with NBC News. “If you think the story got told wrong about Jim, you could probably write a statement for release that tells your story and corrects what you feel bad about. I can put you in contact with someone who would release it.”