USA Gymnastics president resigns

Less than a week after taking over USA Gymnastics, former Rep. Mary Bono has resigned as interim president. Bono took the helm just a month after embattled president and CEO Kerry Perry quit.

Posted: Oct 18, 2018 10:37 AM
Updated: Oct 18, 2018 10:37 AM

The revolving door of USA Gymnastics' top leadership keeps spinning as the organization struggles to recover from the Larry Nassar scandal.

Less than a week after taking over USA Gymnastics, former US Rep. Mary Bono has resigned as interim president.

Bono took the helm just a month after embattled president and CEO Kerry Perry quit. Perry, who had only been on the job for nine months, was criticized for what many considered to be inadequate action and boilerplate soundbites after the Nassar sex abuse scandal.

On Tuesday, four days into her new job, Bono announced her resignation.

"It is with profound regret, coupled with a deep love for the sport of gymnastics and respect for those who aspire to be great gymnasts, that I today tendered my resignation as the interim CEO of USA Gymnastics," Bono said in a statement.

"My withdrawal comes in the wake of personal attacks that, left undefended, would have made my leading USAG a liability for the organization."

Bono came under fire twice during her first few days leading USAG.

First, a tweet surfaced of Bono from September defacing a Nike logo after Nike featured former NFL quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign. (Nike is a huge sponsor of Olympic champion Simone Biles, the biggest star of USA Gymnastics.)

Biles called Bono out on her tweet.

"don't worry, it's not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything," Biles tweeted. Others said Bono's tweet was tone deaf, saying it was the suppression of athletes' voices that allowed Nassar's abuse to fester.

Bono deleted the tweet and said she regretted the post.

"I deeply regret posting the tweet because I respect everyone's views and their fundamental right to express them," Bono said in a statement Saturday. "This in no way reflects how I will approach my position at USA 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."

After that, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman and others slammed USAG's decision to appoint Bono because she used to work for the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels. A former attorney for that firm helped USA Gymnastics craft false statements about Nassar, an investigation by The Indianapolis Star revealed.

Emails obtained by the Star show that attorney worked with Nassar on cover stories about why Nassar -- a former USA Gymnastics team doctor -- couldn't go to big events leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

They settled on excuses like Nassar was sick, or he was focusing on his private practice, the Star reported. But, in reality, Nassar was being investigated for child sex abuse.

Raisman lambasted the hiring of Bono in a series of tweets.

"My teammates & I reported Nassar's abuse to USAG in 2015. We now know USOC & lawyers at Faegre Baker Daniels (Mary Bono's firm) were also told then, yet Nassar continued to abuse children for 13 months!? Why hire someone associated with the firm that helped cover up our abuse?" Raisman posted.

Faegre Baker Daniels released a statement to the Star, saying the firm actually helped report Nassar to the FBI in 2015 -- "a fact that refutes any claim of a cover up." It declined to comment further, citing client confidentiality.

USA Gymnastics clarified that Bono was not involved in working with Nassar during her time at Faegre Baker Daniels.

"Mary Bono worked at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, the legislative strategies and policies branch in Washington, D.C.," USA Gymnastics said in a statement Monday.

"Faegre Baker Daniels is a large, global firm that has a number of divisions and areas, and Mary was not involved in FBD's work with USA Gymnastics as counsel of record."

Attorney John Manly, who represented Nassar survivors, in a statement Tuesday again brought up Bono's connection to Faegre Baker Daniels and said the firm "helped USAG and its disgraced former president Steve Penny keep Nassar's abuse secret in 2015."

"Selecting her as interim president was an insult to every survivor and shows a complete disregard for the safety of child athletes," Manly said.

"USA Gymnastics should be decertified immediately as the governing body for gymnastics in the US. It should be replaced by a body with credible/competent leadership that includes survivors. USAG is a disgrace to our current athletes, to the survivors and our nation."

The USA Gymnastics board of directors said Bono's resignation was "in the best interest of the organization."

"We remain steadfast in our efforts to fundamentally transform the organization at all levels to ensure athlete safety and well-being is at the heart of everything we do," the statement said.

"We are also committed to making sure that the focus remains on the athletes -- including this week as our men and women head to Doha to compete in the World Championships. While we have made progress, we have much more work to do. This board is determined to take the necessary steps to support a safe, inclusive and competitive environment where all our athletes and members can grow, have fun and achieve their goals."

The resignations of Bono and Perry are the latest in a series of high-profile departures from USA Gymnastics in recent months.

In August, after only three days on the job, elite development coordinator Mary Lee Tracy was asked to resign after she had "inappropriately contacted a [Nassar] survivor, who is also a represented plaintiff, in response to that survivor's public criticism of her," USAG said.

"We strongly believe in a culture that encourages our athletes and survivors to speak up and make their voices heard," USAG tweeted.

And in May, USAG said the head of its women's program, Rhonda Faehn, was no longer with the organization. Then-CEO Perry would not say whether Faehn was fired or resigned, calling Faehn's departure a "personnel matter that we will not discuss in detail."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 34574

Reported Deaths: 2134
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9853578
Lake3616190
Allen161869
Cass15877
Elkhart132228
St. Joseph127434
Hendricks116971
Hamilton115993
Johnson1105108
Madison58659
Porter53928
Bartholomew51135
Clark50441
LaPorte43323
Howard40828
Tippecanoe4023
Jackson3891
Delaware38537
Shelby37322
Hancock33827
Floyd31839
Boone31535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2742
Montgomery24117
White2358
Noble23221
Clinton2321
Decatur22431
Grant21122
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry18211
Greene16924
Vigo1698
Dearborn16821
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Lawrence16324
Miami1401
Putnam1377
Kosciusko1351
Jennings1304
Orange12822
Scott1203
Franklin1108
Ripley1096
Marshall1082
Carroll932
Daviess8816
Steuben832
Wayne825
LaGrange812
Wabash782
Newton7810
Fayette777
Jasper671
Washington521
Jay520
Clay511
Fulton491
Rush472
Randolph473
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley423
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan361
Owen351
Brown331
Perry330
Wells320
Benton300
Huntington282
Knox280
Tipton251
Blackford252
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke180
Gibson172
Posey160
Adams151
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 120260

Reported Deaths: 5390
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook779253642
Lake8331291
DuPage7707373
Kane6338178
Will5566276
Winnebago225155
McHenry156672
St. Clair113782
Kankakee91045
Kendall79819
Rock Island65824
Champaign6407
Madison58060
Boone45217
DeKalb4164
Sangamon35129
Jackson28610
Randolph2704
Peoria2339
McLean22013
Ogle2063
Stephenson2062
Macon19319
Clinton18617
Union15411
LaSalle15313
Whiteside14013
Iroquois1324
Coles12715
Out of IL1181
Warren1170
Jefferson10116
Knox1000
Grundy982
Monroe9512
McDonough8811
Unassigned850
Lee811
Cass730
Tazewell735
Henry690
Williamson672
Pulaski560
Marion500
Jasper457
Macoupin452
Adams441
Perry410
Vermilion401
Montgomery391
Morgan361
Christian354
Livingston342
Jo Daviess320
Douglas280
Jersey241
Fayette213
Ford201
Menard200
Woodford192
Mason180
Washington180
Hancock170
Mercer170
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll152
Schuyler130
Bond121
Franklin120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Moultrie110
Piatt110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson80
Effingham71
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
Few Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Robinson
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 74°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 70°
Rockville
Scattered Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Casey
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 71°
Brazil
Few Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 73°
Marshall
Few Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
A warm up on the way.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Monday Afternoon Weather

Image

Washington Catholic High School

Image

Rules of the roadway will be different for Indiana drivers, new hands-free law in place

Image

Monday: Sunny, warmer. High: 78

Image

Exotic Feline Rescue Center special events canceled

Image

Indiana bowling alleys still closed, business owner prepares

Image

Teen killed in weekend accident remembered at vigil

Image

Duke Energy saving programs

Image

Staying cool this season

Image

Indiana state parks to stay closed

WTHI Events