The scandal-wracked United States Gymnastics program won’t be getting a reprieve anytime soon, as even more questionable decisions by the organization continue to backfire in disturbing fashion.
After firing Kerry Perry, who was let go after only nine months for mishandling the fallout from the horrifying mass rape and abuse committed by former team doctor Larry Nassar, US Gymnastics hired former Republican Congresswoman Mary Bono last Friday to lead the organization in the interim.
But Bono barely made it through the weekend, immediately sparking a wave of public backlash after she took to Twitter to post a picture of her using a marker to cover up the NIKE logo on her shoes over the company’s decision to sponsor civil rights warrior and blackballed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
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she may have deleted this tweet, but never forget that the new interim ceo of @USAGym is out here puttin down nike (a sponsor thru 2020) — but more importantly, @MaryBonoUSA has clearly chosen to ignore the core issue african-americans are raising awareness about: injustice pic.twitter.com/3iZG8Jh19C
— Mike Taddow (@taddmike) October 14, 2018
NIKE just so happens to be one of US Gymnastics’ sponsors through 2020, and the tweet was immediately met with a storm of outrage from gymnasts and private citizens alike.
Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles was utterly aghast that the woman chosen to right the ship after the mass sex abuse scandal was not only causing such controversy but making it clear that Bono was ignoring the reason Kaepernick began protesting in the first place — systematic racial injustice and the epidemic of police brutality against people of color in America.
don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything https://t.co/cYQizcjywn
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) October 13, 2018
Gymnast Alexandra Raisman followed up with a tweet yesterday that questioned why on earth the Gymnastics organization would appoint as CEO someone who had previously worked for the legal firm Faegre Baker Daniels, whose lawyers had helped the Gymnastics front office cover up the sexual assault investigation into Larry Nassar.
Clearly this is not a “new” USAG. Same corrupt decisions. Perhaps it’s because true accountability is less likely if authority is placed in the hands of someone similarly motivated to avoid it ….
— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) October 15, 2018
Bono resigned on Tuesday in a statement complaining about the “personal attacks” that she had voluntarily and needlessly inflicted upon herself and defended her work at the Faegre Baker Daniels.
Mary Bono is OUT as @USAGym interim president and CEO. In exit stmt, she defends her tweet marking out @Nike logo on her sneakers: “With respect to Mr. Kaepernick, he nationally exercised his first amendment right to kneel. I exercised mine” pic.twitter.com/qS0uaGdXyl
— Sarah Boxer (@Sarah_Boxer) October 16, 2018
Doubtlessly Bono will soon be turned into a “free speech” icon by the right-wing “fired for truth” crowd that weeps and moans whenever anyone is forced to endure consequences for endorsing racist ideas or movements — like the obviously racist campaign against NIKE and Colin Kaepernick.
But it’s hard to find any sympathy for Bono or U.S. Gymnastics, who have been consistently handling their horrifying scandals with stunning incompetence. Maybe they’ll get it right next time. Good riddance.