USA Gymnastics President Mary Bono Resigns Over Colin Kaepernick Tweet Controversy

The former California congresswoman steps down less than one week after she assumed the head post.

Mary Bono on stage wearing a red dress with her hair loose.
Michael Buckner / Getty Images

The former California congresswoman steps down less than one week after she assumed the head post.

Only four days after she was named interim president of the USA Gymnastics team, ESPN reports that former representative for California’s 45th congressional district, Mary Bono, made the decision to step down from the position on Tuesday, October 16. Bono’s announcement comes amid controversy surrounding statements she has made in condemnation of Nike’s endorsement of Colin Kaepernick last month.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Bono found herself in hot water with a couple of her most prolific stars within 24 hours of assuming resigned president and CEO Kerry Perry’s role on Friday. The backlash all started with a tweet that four-time gold medalist Simone Biles released in order to expose an anti-Kaepernick photograph that Bono had posted some weeks prior.

“*Mouth drops* Don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything,” Biles’ comment to her 1.04 million followers on Twitter read.

The image in question was one that showed Bono scribbling over the logo on a Nike golf shoe. The 56-year-old ex-Republican lawmaker has since confessed that the act was in protest of the commercial that the sports apparel company had put out featuring Kaepernick as a means of celebrating the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan. The New York Daily News reports that fellow teammate Aly Raisman would follow Biles in expressing her own disappointment after seeing the tweet, which reportedly went hand in hand with a separate post in which Bono hashtagged a call for her followers to boycott Nike.

Bono went on to acknowledge that she had removed the tweets and to issue a public apology in an attempt to pull the team back together on the heels of a rough year and a half that has seen the USA Gymnastic leadership reel to recover from the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal. But as a former employee at the law firm that worked with Nassar, and as an incoming executive at ideological odds with the team, the USAG Board’s selection of Bono as chief was fast looking like a move destined to fail.

In her resignation letter, Bono reclaimed her position in opposition to Nike’s choice to support Kaepernick’s message. She elaborated on how the image of her marking out a Nike check came during an emotional moment that involved her being in the presence of families who’ve lost loved ones to battle in the armed services. Throughout, Bono maintained that she respects Kaepernick’s choice to exercise his constitutional right to free speech while defending that she was, in turn, choosing to exercise her own.

Bono stated in the letter that “personal attacks” brought her to the conclusion that at this time it would be best to step down in order to avoid the chances of her leadership becoming a liability to the USAG.

The Board would follow her decision up by releasing its own statement accepting Bono’s resignation in agreement that it regrettably works out “in the best interest of the organization.”