USA Gymnastics president Mary Bono resigns, defends anti-Kaepernick tweet - Sports Illustrated

Interim USA Gymnastics President and CEO Mary Bono announced her resignation on Tuesday after experiencing backlash over a previous tweet about Nike.

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

"With respect to Mr. Kaepernick, he nationally exercised his first amendment right to kneel. I exercised mine: to mark over on my own golf shoes, the logo of the company sponsoring him for 'believing in something even if it means sacrifing everything,' " Bono added.

Bono went on to say that she was at a golf tournament for families that have lost a member of the armed services when she sent out the tweet. She wrote that she lost her brother-in-law, a Navy SEAL, "who literally sacrificed everything."

"It was an emotional reaction to the sponsor's use of that phrase that caused me to tweet, and I regret that at the time I didn't better clarify my feelings."

Bono was named to the interim position last Friday. In September, she tweeted that she was playing at a charity golf tournament but "unfortunately had these shoes in my bag," in reference to a pair of Nike shoes. She included a photo of her coloring in the white Nike check on her shoe with a black marker.


The tweet came a few days after Nike launched its "Just Do It" campaign with Colin Kaepernick.

On Saturday, four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles shared her dislike for Bono's Nike tweet.

"don't worry, it's not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything [sic]," Biles tweeted.

Later on Tuesday, the U.S. Olympic Committee released a statement from CEO Sarah Hirshland.

"We learned today that the interim CEO of USA Gymnastics, Mary Bono, resigned from her position. While the situation is unfortunate, we know that USA Gymnastics remains dedicated to the process of finding a new and permanent CEO. The USOC is committed to working hard with the USAG board to find the right leader who can build gymnastics up to the world-class organization we know that it can and should be. Both the USOC staff and myself will continue to work closely with USAG in both the short and long term as they search for a new leader. The well-being of Team USA athletes is our top priority as we manage this process.”