New USA Gymnastics President Apologizes for Nike Criticism

In a wonderful “free speech for me, but not for thee” story, the new head of USA Gymnastics has been forced to grovel before the public after an Olympic gold medalist criticized her for a post she made about Nike in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick controversy.

Just after Nike released their new ad campaign featuring the disgraced athlete, Mary Bono posted a tweet showing a photo of herself scratching out the Nike symbol on her shoes with a magic marker.

“Playing in a charity golf tournament raising money for our nation’s Special Forces operators and their families,” Bono wrote at the time. “Unfortunately had these shoes in my bag. Luckily I had a marker in my bag too.”

Okay, so no biggie, right? Bono certainly was not the only one upset by the ad, which glorified Kaepernick’s protest against the national anthem – the kneeling posture that has spread through the NFL like wildfire, dividing fans and inspiring outrage. What difference does it make if she disagreed with the company’s decision to make Kaepernick the center of a major ad campaign? Is she not allowed to have that opinion? Must we all celebrate Colin Kaepernick and the NFL Kneelers?

Apparently that’s the case, if you ask Olympic gymnast Simone Biles. She unearthed the old tweet after Bono was named the new president of the gymnastics operation.

“*Mouth drop*,” Biles wrote. “Don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything.”

We suppose it should be noted that Biles has a Nike contract, so her intentions may have been less than honorable.

But that’s not even the most important part of the story. The most important part is that Bono actually apologized!

“I deeply regret posting the Tweet because I respect everyone’s views and their fundamental right to express them,” said Bono, a former Republican congresswoman. “This in no way reflects how I will approach my position at USA Gymnastics.”

UGH.

Look, we get it. We get that USA Gymnastics has some cleaning up to do after the whole Larry Nassar scandal. We even understand that Nike dumps a lot of money into the Olympic Games and Team USA, and it probably isn’t the wisest financial move to anger them.

But you “deeply regret” standing up for your own principles, Mary? Don’t YOU have the “fundamental right” to express your own views? Come on, Ms. Bono. Show some spine.


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