Mary Bono Nails the Dismount
October 18, 2018 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Soon after allegations of sexual abuse by Larry Nassar were made by three former gymnasts on 60 Minutes, USA Gymnastics President and CEO Steve Penny resigned. Kerry Perry was hired to change the climate at the governing body, then fired "after nine months marked by chaos [and] lack of tangible action".

The Board of Directors of USA Gymnastics then appointed former U.S. Representative Mary Bono (a former gymnast herself) as the interim President last Friday. Then Simone Biles (Nike sponsored athlete and reigning all-world everything) found a tweet where Bono blacked out a Nike logo on her shoes as an apparent protest against the sportswear titan sponsoring Colin Kaepernick. Bono deleted the tweet, but the damage had been done. USA Gymnastics accepted Bono's resignation just three days later, right around the time that Penny was being arrested for tampering with evidence.
posted by Etrigan (25 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Mary Bono wasn't fired because of the Nike tweet, though it didn't help matters.

She was fired because she was an SVP at the firm that Steve Penny hired to help cover up for Nassar.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:04 PM on October 18, 2018 [42 favorites]


They should allow Judge Rosemarie Aquilina to pick the next USA Gymnastics President. Clearly, she gets it and would perform all the due diligence necessary to pick someone who also gets it and does not have baggage like Mary Bono.
posted by narancia at 12:12 PM on October 18, 2018 [5 favorites]


Time and time again, rich white people make Colin's protest about them; time and time again they are absolutely oblivious when they get called out on it.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:14 PM on October 18, 2018 [7 favorites]


They should allow Judge Rosemarie Aquilina to pick the next USA Gymnastics President.

Id be totally down with her joining the panel of Simone Biles and Aly Raisman to select the next head.

A++ for the thread title.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:34 PM on October 18, 2018 [5 favorites]


NoxAeternum: "Mary Bono wasn't fired because of the Nike tweet, though it didn't help matters.

She was fired because she was an SVP at the firm that Steve Penny hired to help cover up for Nassar.
"

She was fired for covering up. This & that.
posted by chavenet at 12:45 PM on October 18, 2018 [3 favorites]


Mary Bono wasn't fired because of the Nike tweet, though it didn't help matters.

She was fired because she was an SVP at the firm that Steve Penny hired to help cover up for Nassar.


They knew that she was an SVP at that firm when they hired her, they mentioned it in the press release when they brought. Your link says so.

But before Bono became president of USA Gymnastics, she served as senior vice president of Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, a fact that was mentioned in the USA Gymnastics press release announcing her appointment.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:06 PM on October 18, 2018 [3 favorites]


It's really heartbreaking that the management structure of USA Gymnastics is absolutely destroying enthusiasm/leadership while its top athlete is simultaneously dominating and redefining the actual floorwork for the future.

They literally don't have to do *anything* other than smile and sign a few checks but can't stop themselves from preying on the athletes.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:08 PM on October 18, 2018 [23 favorites]


Isn't there some sort of mandatory reporting for PR firms?

I understand everyone has a right to an attorney, so we (ok most people) don't get too bent at defense attorneys that defend scum.
But a PR company that covers for a serial child abuser, basically allowing him to abuse even more? How the fuck is that ok?

..and then to have a SVP from that PR company become the head of USAG - what the everloving fucking fuck?
posted by notsnot at 1:14 PM on October 18, 2018


Also, it sounds like she wasn't qualified for the job either. From the USA Today article: "Perry had no experience in gymnastics or the Olympic movement when she took over." Wha?
posted by Melismata at 1:30 PM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


They knew that she was an SVP at that firm when they hired her, they mentioned it in the press release when they brought. Your link says so.

Yes, and if you read further, they were wholly unprepared for the response from the gymnast community when they found out.

USAG has long treated the gymnasts in their system as disposable, replaceable cogs - and haven't yet realized that era is now over.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:33 PM on October 18, 2018 [21 favorites]


I am flabbergasted that they hired someone who was involved in the cover-up. Obviously USA Gymnastics is a complete disaster, but how is it possible that they don't have anyone who could point out how terrible that would look? They don't care about the gymnasts, and I guess they don't really care about their image either? It's incredible.
posted by Mavri at 1:52 PM on October 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


Hanlon's razor says, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." At this point, it's looking more and more like malice.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 2:21 PM on October 18, 2018 [3 favorites]


Credit Simone Biles's with the takedown. She's gymnastics' biggest star and she was ready to drag Bono and USA Gymnastics down. The powers that be know Bono was part of the coverup and didn't care. But they also know that with Simone Biles, they are lost.
posted by advicepig at 2:22 PM on October 18, 2018 [13 favorites]


Pretty unbelievable the lengths powerful elites will go to to protect systemic and mass scale sexual abuse of girl children. Tells you something quite horrifying about our culture.
posted by latkes at 2:30 PM on October 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


Here's the issue. USAG is being sued, and rightly so, by multiple gymnasts and victims of Larry Nassar, because of their wholesale failure to protect the gymnasts under their care, their cover-up of that failure, and in some cases, even their enabling Nassar in his crimes by ensuring he continued to have a steady steam of available victims even after complaints were made against him. And they keep saying that they're going to hire someone who will fix it all, but the fact is that they are never going to do that. Because they're still in cover-our-ass mode, where they're trying to avoid admitting culpability to anyone so that they don't have to pay out billions of dollars. As long as that's true, hiring a competent person that the athletes could trust to protect them above anyone else, including USAG, is in direct counterpoint to what they want. What they want is someone that might be able to fool the athletes into believing that they are being protected and advocated for, when that person is really protecting USAG alone. This will happen again and again as they desperately try to search for that person. All I can say though, is good luck trying to find someone slick enough to pull one over on Biles and Raisman.
posted by katyggls at 3:28 PM on October 18, 2018 [24 favorites]


Her statement on her resignation is appallingly tone deaf. She talks about how the people who acquiesced to sexual abuse got ahead - victim blaming AND sour grapes all in one sentence. Somehow you get the impression that her angst and anger weren't because other girls were getting abused, but because other girls were getting favoured after getting abused. It's gross.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:29 PM on October 18, 2018 [5 favorites]


They should just hire Aly Raisman and be done with it. I doubt they'll do that, though, because they aren't ready for a wholesale housecleaning. But that would be the right thing to do.
posted by dancing_angel at 10:38 PM on October 18, 2018


I’m surprised that no one has pointed out that along with all of the other reasons not to hire Bono for this job, she is a Republican politician, a group not generally known for their support of sexual assault victims.
posted by TedW at 2:34 AM on October 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Credit Simone Biles's with the takedown. She's gymnastics' biggest star and she was ready to drag Bono and USA Gymnastics down. The powers that be know Bono was part of the coverup and didn't care. But they also know that with Simone Biles, they are lost.

I think this is true and I also think it's INCREDIBLY depressing that in order to get literally anything, not even justice or any sort of support or compensation but literally just "not having a person involved with a company that helped cover up and enable abuse being put in charge of the organization most directly responsible for that abuse, also she's probably racist", in order to achieve that Simone Biles had to be one of the very best gymnasts of all time. It's great that they have to listen to her, but I wish the threshold for people listening to those affected by abuse weren't so incredibly, terrifyingly high.

The amount these young women have had to achieve -- not just being Olympic-caliber gymnasts but being the BEST Olympic-caliber gymnasts -- in order win the absolute smallest of concessions is sickening.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:59 AM on October 19, 2018 [10 favorites]


Oh, and if you want to understand how scummy Steve Penny is, he gaslit a Nassar survivor into supporting USAG when the story broke, and all but bribed the FBI agents investigating to try to save face.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:17 AM on October 19, 2018






Wow. Has that happened before?
posted by jacquilynne at 5:29 PM on November 5, 2018


Everyone Believed Larry Nassar The predatory trainer may have just taken down USA Gymnastics. How did he deceive so many for so long? - Kerry Howley
It has by the fall of 2018 become commonplace to describe the 499 known victims of Larry Nassar as “breaking their silence,” though in fact they were never, as a group, particularly silent. Over the course of at least 20 years of consistent abuse, women and girls reported to every proximate authority. They told their parents. They told gymnastics coaches, running coaches, softball coaches. They told Michigan State University police and Meridian Township police. They told physicians and psychologists. They told university administrators. They told, repeatedly, USA Gymnastics. They told one another. Athletes were interviewed, reports were written up, charges recommended. The story of Larry Nassar is not a story of silence. The story of Larry Nassar is that of an edifice of trust so resilient, so impermeable to common sense, that it endured for decades against the allegations of so many women.
If this is a story of institutional failure, it is also a story of astonishing individual ingenuity. Larry Nassar was good at this. His continued success depended on deceiving parents, fellow doctors, elite coaches, Olympic gatekeepers, athletes, and, with some regularity, law enforcement. Before getting caught, he managed to abuse women and girls whose names you know — Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney — and hundreds whose names you don’t.

As of November 5, it looks likely that Nassar has destroyed the sport’s governing body, USA Gymnastics. In an open letter citing the “struggle to change its culture,” the U.S. Olympic Committee began the process of decertifying USAG, which withheld knowledge about Nassar from its members for over a year and whose former president was recently arrested by U.S. Marshals for disappearing Nassar-related documents. The organization is being sued by hundreds of accusers represented by “37 or 38” law firms, according to the lawyer charged with organizing them; it’s hard to keep count.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:52 PM on November 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


It is never the silence of victims; it is always the willful deafness of authority.

It's true whether you're talking about Larry Nassar or Catholic Priests or Minor Hockey or Residential Schools or Penn State or any other systemic sexual abuse situation.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:08 AM on November 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


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