It doesn’t seem possible that one organization could find as many different ways to fuck up as USA Gymnastics has over the past several years, but they somehow added another one to the list earlier this week. On Monday, the bankrupt USAG hired its first-ever full-time director of sports medicine and science, Edward Nyman. The organization seemed optimistic about and excited by Nyman’s arrival.
“Making this hire early on in my tenure was important,” said USAG president Li Li Leung, “because it is critical for our becoming more athlete-centric. Ed’s collective professional experiences make him uniquely suited for this role.”
The next day, USAG realized it had made a mistake, although they won’t own up to what exactly that mistake was. The release in the above tweet now just shows a brief statement reading, in full, “Dr. Nyman’s employment will not continue due to a conflict of interest, and we will immediately renew our search to identify a qualified individual to lead our sports medicine and research efforts.”
This backtracking comes after the most powerful person in USA Gymnastics, Simone Biles, put her foot down on the hire. Just as it did when Biles got interim CEO and president Mary Bono to apologize for defacing a Nike logo during that post-Kaepernick hysteria, change came quickly once Biles made her opinion known.
Attorney John Manly, who represents some of Larry Nassar’s victims, also criticized the move.
(It’s worth noting that, while Manly calls Nyman a physician, Nyman is not a medical doctor. Nyman has a doctorate in biomechanics.)
The anger and frustration was loud enough and immediate enough that, after the rapid termination of Nyman’s employment, USAG was compelled to release another statement on Wednesday claiming that the reversal had nothing to do with any tweets:
“To provide clarity, the decision to terminate Dr. Nyman’s employment was not based on any comments made on social media platforms or anywhere else. In accordance with our employment policies, we cannot comment further on this personnel matter.”
Of course, that statement doesn’t really provide any clarity, because it’s still unknown just what it was that USAG learned about Nyman within one day of hiring him that made his continued employment impossible. But at this point, no one should be surprised by a lack of transparency from USA Gymnastics.
Correction: This post originally said that Dr. Edward Nyman is a physician. He is not. It has been updated.