Simone Biles Criticizes USA Gymnastics over Mary Bono's Anti-Nike Tweet

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2018

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 17 : Simone Biles looks on during Day 2 of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships 2018 at TD Garden on August 17, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

USA Gymnastics appointed Mary Bono as its interim president and CEO on Friday, and gold-medal gymnast Simone Biles was critical of that decision, citing an anti-Nike tweet from Bono last month after the company unveiled its Colin Kaepernick marketing campaign.

Per ESPN.com, Bono also retweeted a "#BoycottNike" response to her original tweet last month.

Biles' voice carries weight. She won four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games and a bronze, and there's an argument to be made that she's the greatest gymnast ever to live.

She's also sponsored by Nike, per ESPN's report, while USA Gymnastics does not currently have an apparel sponsor after Under Armour dropped it in 2017.

As Nancy Armour of USA Today wrote, "that no one thought to delete [Bono's anti-Nike post] before her appointment was announced Friday afternoon was considered particularly tone-deaf. ... Critics of the federation also questioned how receptive Bono might be to listening to athletes if she was critical of Kaepernick’s protests."

Bono, 56, is a former Republican congresswoman who was appointed to replace Kerry Perry, who resigned following the Larry Nassar sexual abuse trials. Nassar was found guilty of multiple counts of child pornography and sexual assault and sentenced in three different trials to a possibility of over 200 years in prison.

Over 200 women accused Nassar of sexual abuse.

USA Gymnastics lost a number of sponsors in the fallout, including Under Armour. One of the roles for the next president of the organization will be changing the culture of the organization, restoring its image and obtaining new sponsorships.

According to Biles—who has been openly critical of USA Gymnastics and its leadership in the past—the appointment of Bono on an interim basis is a poor start to that effort.

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