Simone Biles criticizes USA Gymnastics' choice after CEO's anti-Nike tweet
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles on Saturday criticized USA Gymnastics' appointment of Mary Bono as interim president and chief executive officer.
Biles, USA Gymnastics' biggest star, quote-tweeted Bono's post from last month that was critical of Nike in the wake of the apparel company's advertising campaign featuring NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Bono, who was appointed to her new roles on Friday, posted a photo of herself blacking out a Nike logo on a golf shoe. In response, Biles tweeted: "*mouth drop* ... don't worry, it's not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything."
Bono, a former Republican congresswoman, last month also retweeted a response to her tweet that said "#BoycottNike."
Bono has since deleted the photo, and about five hours after Biles' post, Bono wrote that she regretted making the initial message.
"I regret the post and respect everyone's views & fundamental right to express them," Bono tweeted. "This doesn't reflect how I will approach my position @USAGym I will do everything I can to help build, w/ the community, an open, safe & positive environment."
USA Gymnastics has been without an apparel sponsor since Under Armour ended its deal with the organization in late 2017. Biles is personally sponsored by Nike.
The discord is just the latest in a string of public dilemmas for USA Gymnastics, which is still struggling to emerge from the fallout of the sexual abuse scandal surrounding former team doctor Larry Nassar. More than 200 women, including Biles and current and former members of the organization's elite program, have come forward over the past two years saying that Nassar sexually abused them under the guise of treatment.
Bono served as a principal at the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels before her new appointment. USA Gymnastics previously used the same law firm when it first suspended Nassar in the summer of 2015 after hearing complaints about the methods he used to treat gymnasts.
An attorney for Faegre Baker Daniels agreed to Nassar's suggestions to provide "false excuses" for his absence from major gymnastics events during the summer of 2015. The attorney said USA Gymnastics would explain his absence by saying he was missing for "personal reasons." Nassar asked whether they could instead say the former doctor was sick, and the attorney agreed to use that excuse.
USA Gymnastics allowed Nassar to announce he was retiring from his work with the national team in September 2015 while he remained under federal investigation for claims of sexual assault. Bono's name does not appear in any documents or emails that detail the law firm's previous work with USA Gymnastics.
Bono will hold her roles while USA Gymnastics searches for a permanent successor to Kerry Perry, who resigned under pressure from the United States Olympic Committee in September after spending nine months on the job.
Nike's Kaepernick campaign has been met with some product boycotts by those who disagree with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback's activism and decision to kneel during the national anthem before NFL games.
Biles, who won four gold medals in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, was named to the 2018 world championship team on Friday, shortly before Bono's hiring was announced.
Information from ESPN's Dan Murphy was used in this report.