As we have heard through the news and social media, USA Gymnastics is currently in an attempt to rebuild after a historical scandal involving the sexual abuse allegations against former team doctor, Larry Nassar. One would think that after Nassar was sentenced for life, the scandal would die down and the governing body of USAG would be “rebranded”–think again.
In the past few months, USAG has had two appointed figures for CEO/President “resign” after backlash from the gymnastics community–Kerry Perry and Mary Bono. Just in this past week, Mary Bono had resigned after Olympic Champions Aly Raisman and Simone Biles took to Twitter criticizing USAG’s pick. The main argument that Aly Raisman brought forward was that Mary Bono wasn’t a smart choice to lead USA Gymnastics because the law firm she had previously worked for, was also the firm that helped USA Gymnastics cover up the Larry Nassar scandal. USAG released a statement explaining that though Bono had worked at the same firm, she had no affiliation with the Nassar case. So, some of you may wonder, if she didn’t have anything to do with the Nassar case personally, then why force her out of the position? The answer is simple, USAG can only move forward with a new perspective if they cut ties with the past. This means, they shouldn’t have a connection with their previous law firm, no matter what.
On the other hand, Biles had retweeted a picture of Mary Bono blacking out the Nike logo on her shoes, just two days after the announcement that Colin Kaepernick would represent Nike. The point Biles brought forward by retweeting that picture was that USAG has lost sponsors in the wake of the Nassar case, and a tweet like that doesn’t help the organization gain more sponsors. Since then, Bono had deleted the tweet, and apologized for her actions.
In a matter of only four days, Mary Bono has resigned from her position. Statements were released from Bono and USAG stating the hope that a better future will be established for the athletes. The question remains, now that the athletes are being heard (per the removal of Perry and Bono), when will the right changes be made? This organization can not keep putting money and medals ahead of the safety of athletes. As a fan of the sport, I can only hope that the organization is rebuilt for a better change, so that little girls and boys can achieve their dreams. I would also like to add, that as I began writing this post, news broke that the former USAG president Steve Penny (who was the President during Larry Nassar’s time at USAG) has been arrested for tampering evidence with the Larry Nassar case. With this arrest, could it be a sign that finally a new beginning is coming?
Listed below are links for more information, and Mary Bono’s resignation statement: