Just days into her job as interim USA Gymnastics president, Mary Bono resigned due to a resurfaced anti-Nike Twitter post.
Bono had apologized after she came under fire for the tweet in which she crossed out a Nike logo on a pair of golf shoes at a celebrity golf tournament following Nike’s announcement of its new marketing campaign with Colin Kaepernick.
The Honorable Mary Bono has been named interim president and chief executive officer of USA Gymnastics, effective immediately. pic.twitter.com/oRPE8wZrrd
— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) October 12, 2018
Bono resigned Tuesday, after just five days in her new role following the resignation of former president Kerry Perry, saying she submitted her resignation with “profound regret” as she took a shot at the former NFL quarterback.
“My withdrawal comes in the wake of personal attacks that, left undefended, would have made my leading USAG a liability for the organization,” Bono said in a statement.
“With respect to Mr. Kaepernick, he nationally exercised his first amendment right to kneel. I exercised mine: to mark over on my own golf shoes, the logo of the company sponsoring him for ‘believing in something even if it means sacrificing everything’ — while at a tournament for families who have lost a member of the armed services (including my brother-in-law, a Navy SEAL) who literally ‘sacrificed everything,'” she said.
Here is the statement I released earlier today regarding my resignation from USA Gymnastics pic.twitter.com/Oqga5FTXvx
— Mary Bono (@MaryBonoUSA) October 16, 2018
Bono is a former U.S. Representative for California’s 45th congressional district who was first elected to Congress to replace her late husband, Sonny Bono – of Sonny and Cher fame – after he died. She served as a Republican congresswoman from 1998 to 2013.
USA Gymnastics reportedly accepted Bono’s resignation, saying it was in the organization’s “best interest.”
“We believe this is in the best interest of the organization,” the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors said in a statement. “We, as a Board, are committed to taking action when we believe a change of course is necessary and to being responsive to our gymnastics community.”
USA Gymnastics’ interim CEO Mary Bono deleted her anti-Nike Kaepernick tweet and has apologized. Bono is a former Republican congresswoman. pic.twitter.com/00bbWaALJ9
— ?andrew?kaczynski? (@KFILE) October 14, 2018
The Board of Directors had previously admitted missing Bono’s tweet in an earlier review but said they hoped to “move forward.”
“Before extending an offer to Mary Bono to be the interim president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, the Board of Directors did review Ms. Bono’s background, including her social media activity,” the USA Gymnastics’ Board of Directors had said in a statement. “Unfortunately, her tweet about Nike was an oversight on our part. We are disappointed about the tweet and Mary has expressed regret in posting it. We support Mary and her ability to help us move forward in the interim period.”
I’ll just leave this here – pic.twitter.com/aF24kgbxie
— ✌ Gus LeFou ✌ (@Guslefou149) October 14, 2018
Bono’s tweet and subsequent apology had drawn backlash from many including Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, who is sponsored by Nike.
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
Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman criticized Bono’s connection to the law firm which represented USA Gymnastics as allegations of abuse by former Olympics doctor Larry Nassar began to surface.
My teammates & I reported Nassar’s abuse to USAG in 2015. We now know USOC & lawyers at Faegre Baker Daniels (Mary Bono’s firm) were also told then, yet Nassar continued to abuse children for 13 months!? Why hire someone associated with the firm that helped cover up our abuse?
— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) October 15, 2018
The U.S. Olympic Committee was informed of Bono’s resignation as well.
“While the situation is unfortunate, we know that USA Gymnastics remains dedicated to the process of finding a new and permanent CEO,” U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland said, according to Fox Business. “The USOC is committed to working hard with the USAG board to find the right leader who can build gymnastics up to the world-class organization we know that it can and should be.”
Bono’s resignation and her parting shot at Kaepernick drew mixed reactions on Twitter .
She is going to be directing an organization that lost all of its sponsors because of the Nassar scandal. She only had 24 hours on the job, and is basically cutting ties with future sponsorships. That has to be her dumbest move yet ???
— TinkPam (@PamelaR26037758) October 14, 2018
She has every right to say whatever she wants, but also has to deal with the consequences.
— Z (@zmoney_hookem) October 16, 2018
The @USAGym vetting process was clearly inept.
Either they didn’t check for problematic tweets (bad) or they did, but didn’t see the problem (worse).
They should be thanking @Simone_Biles for doing their job.
— Mike Flacy (@mikeflacy) October 16, 2018
A classic unapologetic “apology”
— kates (@katieehislop) October 16, 2018
If she doesn’t like Nike cause of Kaepernick so what? She didn’t need to step down, just the Libs throwing a hissy fit again
— Patrick Martin (@pmartin1990) October 16, 2018
She is allowed to have an opinion
— Christine Castile (@ChristineCasti4) October 16, 2018
No longer watching gymnastics as it is MeToo gone wild with Biles complaining and the CEO resigns, Time to stop funding it, money maker or not. It has lost its reason.
— C Spottswood (@CSpottswood) October 16, 2018
The issue with her Nike tweet is dumb. Does her voice not matter? She has to be silent while athletes cam talk? But really, she was a skeyvhy hire to start with coming from USAG’s law firm partner.
— Andrew LaGesse (@Texas_LaG) October 17, 2018
So many comments from people saying you don’t get it when they don’t get it either. Yes , Kaepernick has the right to use his first amendment right and take a knee. You can also use your first amendment right to voice your displeasure with Nike. There’s no difference.
— Chuck Massengale (@cmmassengale) October 17, 2018
She was only interim anyway, but can’t someone have an opinion or point of view however unpopular or popular it may be without the fear of losing your job or reputation?
— CharismaKings (@CharismaKings) October 17, 2018
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