Mary Bono, the former Congresswoman from the Coachella Valley from 1998 – 2013, was appointed Interim President of USA Gymnastics of Friday. by Saturday, she was already apologizing after coming under fire for a tweet she sent a month earlier.
Simone Biles, holder of four Olympics gold medals and the only woman in history with 10 World Championship golds, took to Twitter to voice her displeasure over Bono, who had tweeted a photo of her drawing over the Nike swoosh logo on a pair of golf shoes as a protest following the shoe company using Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign.
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
Biles responded to Bono’s tweet with “mouth drop” then adding, “Don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything.”
Bono deleted the Kaepernick tweet a few hours later and tweeted an apology.
I regret the post and respect everyone’s views & fundamental right to express them. This doesn’t reflect how I will approach my position @USAGym I will do everything I can to help build, w/ the community, an open, safe & positive environment.
— Mary Bono (@MaryBonoUSA) October 14, 2018
The apology didn’t go over well.
Not ok. Regretting usually means “regret getting caught”. Reminded of Maya Angelou suggesting when people tell us who they are we should believe them the first time.
— Robyn Bean (@robynlbn) October 14, 2018
A longer apology statement was released by U.S.A. Gymnastics.
“I deeply regret posting the tweet because I respect everyone’s views and their fundamental right to express them,” she said in the statement. “This in no way reflects how I will approach my position at U.S.A. Gymnastics. I will do everything I can to help change the culture and to work with the entire community to build an open, safe and positive environment.”
A spokeswoman for U.S.A. Gymnastics did not answer questions from the New York Times about how the organization had vetted Ms. Bono or whether it agreed with her anti-Nike sentiments.
Biles has been signed with Nike since 2015.Several other members of the team are as well, including fellow 2016 Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez.
Bono was named as a temporarily replacement for Kerry Perry, who was forced out of the job after just nine months on the job after criticism for the handling of the Larry Nassar case. According to ABC News, the search for a permanent replacement is ongoing.