Olympic champion Simone Biles disrupted the welcoming of Mary Bono to the USA Gymnastics president and CEO position on Saturday, October 13, with a tweet that appeared to question the former conservative politician’s qualifications for the role given her criticism of Nike for endorsing Colin Kaepernick.
The New York Times reports that Biles quote-tweeted a photograph Bono posted last month of herself inking over the logo of a Nike golf shoe after learning of the company’s decision to sign Kaepernick to a contract of undisclosed value. Nike tapped him to head an ad campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan. According to ESPN, the tweet was one of at least two that Bono was on record for having shared in opposition to support for Kaepernick, with the other being the reposting of a #BoycottNike hashtag.
“(Asterisk) mouth drop (asterisk) don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything,” Biles wrote only one day after Bono was formally announced the interim replacement for former Team USA head Kerry Perry.
The naming of Bono, an ex-Republican congresswoman out of California, to the seat is widely presumed to be an attempt by USA Gymnastics to move past the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal that has rocked the team in recent times. It comes a little more than one month after Perry reportedly resigned over pressure from the United States Olympic Committee’s investigation.
Biles also received good news per her selection to the 2018 World Championships Team on Friday. But it doesn’t appear as though the achievement was one that she is presently comfortable celebrating with Bono, who sought to sweep the old tweets behind her as swiftly as possible by having them deleted within five hours of Biles blowing the whistle on her.
*mouth drop*— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) October 13, 2018
don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything https://t.co/cYQizcjywn
After eliminating the dated posts, the new USA Gymnastics chief took to Twitter to express regret for having ever published them, and to state her intention to respect the varying views of her competitors as she assumes her leadership void of intolerance or political bias.
“I regret the post and respect everyone’s views & fundamental right to express them,” Bono wrote late on Saturday. “This doesn’t reflect how I will approach my position. I will do everything I can to help build with the community, an open, safe and positive environment.”
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
Hey all, I know the Tweet will live on but have taken it down to move the focus to all I hope to accomplish on behalf of a great sport & those who are dedicated to it— Mary Bono (@MaryBonoUSA) October 14, 2018
It remains unclear whether or not Bono has personally reached out to Biles in an attempt to smooth tensions over. As of press time, the four-time gold medalist, who shined in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, had not yet removed or readdressed her tweet.