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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Mary Bono Steps Down As USA Gymnastics President And CEO, Defends Anti-Kaepernick Tweet

Illustration for article titled Mary Bono Steps Down As USA Gymnastics President And CEO, Defends Anti-Kaepernick Tweet
Photo: Jason Merritt (Getty)

Well, that was fast. Just five days—and two of those days were weekend days—after her appointment as interim president and CEO of USA Gymnastics was announced, Mary Bono, a former Republican congresswoman from California, has announced she’s resigning from the post.

Almost since the moment she was appointed on Friday, there has been controversy. Bono was a former principal at Faegre Baker Daniels, a firm which helped USA Gymnastics hide why Larry Nassar was not attending gymnastics events in late 2015 while the nonprofit quietly investigated allegations of sexual abuse that Maggie Nichols had made.

But this part of the story did not get nearly as much attention as did Bono’s tweet from September, in which she used a marker to blacken the Nike swoosh on her golf shoes to show her disapproval of the brand featuring Colin Kaepernick in its latest advertising campaign.


That got Simone Biles, the greatest female gymnast of all time and a Nike-athlete, to tweet out this in response:

After Biles’s tweet, the story exploded, and it was clear that Bono’s days at USA Gymnastics were numbered. This is what happens when Biles flexes.

On her way out, Bono defended the now deleted-tweet:

“With respect to Mr. Kaepernick, he nationally exercised his first amendment right to kneel. I exercised mine, to mark over 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. It was an emotional reaction to a sponsor’s use of the phrase that caused me to tweet.”


I guess all of the other dumbasses who destroyed their Nike gear were just really worked up about the tagline. Of course, it had absolutely nothing to do with their displeasure at a black athlete using his platform to protest police violence against African Americans. Why would anyone think that?

Here’s Bono’s full statement:

Dvora Meyers is a staff writer at Deadspin.

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