Mary Bono, a former GOP congresswoman from California, was criticized by Biles after she tweeted, and then deleted, a photo of herself drawing over a Nike logo on her golf shoes. She didn’t name Kaepernick but petty White folks have been posting such actions on social media in protest against the new Nike ad campaign featuring the former NFL quarterback.
The move represents yet more embarrassing headlines for the organization, which is still dealing with the aftermath of the Larry Nassar abuse scandal. Bono was also criticized by Olympic champion Aly Raisman for her connections to a law firm that she said helped “cover up” Nassar’s abuse.
Biles, who is sponsored by Nike, responded Saturday to Bono via Twitter: “*mouth drop* don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter USA gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything.”
Bono apologized but soon after she announced her resignation.
“It is with profound regret, coupled with a deep love for the sport of gymnastics and respect for those who aspire to be great gymnasts, that I today tendered my resignation as the Interim CEO of USA Gymnastics,” said Bono in a statement. “My withdrawal comes in the wake of personal attacks that, left undefended, would have made my leading USAG a liability for the organization.”
In her resignation statement, Bono said she reacted strongly to Nike’s “sacrificing everything” slogan, as it reminded her of her late brother, a member of the military.
“It was an emotional reaction to the sponsor’s use of that phrase that caused me to tweet, and I regret that at the time I did not better clarify things,” she wrote, adding that Kaepernick “exercised his First Amendment right to kneel, I exercised mine.”
USA Gymnastics’ former team doctor Larry Nassar is serving up to 175 years in prison for multiple sex crimes against athletes, including Biles and Raisman.