Former Congresswoman Mary Bono has announced she is resigning as interim president and chief executive officer of USA Gymnastics after just five days on the job.
“My withdrawal comes in the wake of personal attacks that left undefended, would have made my leading USAG a liability for the organization,” Bono said in a statement Tuesday.
Bono’s selection to lead USA Gymnastics had almost immediately come under fire by several high-profile gymnasts, including Olympic gold-medal winners Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.
Raisman objected to the choice of Bono, pointing out the former GOP lawmaker’s association with a law firm that advised USAG during the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.
Both Biles and Raisman were among the hundreds of girls and young women molested by the physician.
“My teammates & I reported Nassar’s abuse to USAG in 2015,” wrote Raisman. “We now know USOC (the U.S. Olympic Committee) & lawyers at Faegre Baker Daniels (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?”
Nassar is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to federal child pornography charges and state charges of sexual abuse.
“Survivors, current gymnasts, families, coaches, gymnastics community & fans deserve better,” Raisman wrote Monday.
Biles, meanwhile, took issue with Bono’s response to Nike’s advertising campaign featuring former American football player Colin Kaepernick, who was the first to kneel during the playing of the national anthem to draw attention to injustice, social inequality and police brutality.
Bono posted a photo of herself blacking out a Nike logo on a golf shoe. Biles tweeted in response: “mouth drop … don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president, or any sponsors or anything.”
Bono’s departure is another blow for USA Gymnastics, which has struggled to rebuild in the aftermath of the Nassar scandal.
Bono served as U.S. Representative from Southern California for 15 years. She won her first term in a special election to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband, former pop star and lawmaker Sonny Bono.