USA Gymnastics chief is out following criticism of Nike's Kaepernick ad

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Credit: Mary Bono via Twitter

Former congresswoman Mary Bono's criticism of Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad has cost her her new job just four days in.

Bono, a Republican, on Tuesday said she was stepping down as interim CEO of USA Gymnastics after catching heat for criticizing the campaign. The sport's biggest star, Simone Biles, was among those who slammed Bono for a tweet in September she posted showing her using a marker to black out the Nike logo on her golf shoes.

Bono later deleted the tweet.

Bono also drew criticism from Olympian Aly Raisman for her association with law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, where she has spent time as a principal. Raisman has alleged that the firm, which has worked for USA Gymnastics, did not do enough to stop Larry Nassar, the former Olympic gymnastics doctor who pled guilty to sexual abuse.

In her resignation statement Tuesday, which she later tweeted, Bono mentioned that as Kaepernick exercised his First Amendment right to kneel, she exercised her right "to mark over on my own golf shoes, the logo of the company sponsoring him for 'believing in something even if it means sacrificing everything.'" She noted it was an emotional reaction to the phrase, and cited families that have lost members in the armed forces, such as her own brother-in-law, a Navy SEAL.

In an earlier version of her statement, tweeted by a CNN producer, Bono also stated that "I proudly stand behind my body of work at Faegre Baker Daniels..."

Bono was appointed to the interim position on Oct. 15. She's the second executive to take the helm of the controversy-plagued Indianapolis-based organization in as many months. She replaced Kerry Perry, who had the job for nine months as the USA Gymnastics struggled to recover from the Nassar sex-abuse scandal.

Five weeks after debuting, Nike's controversial ad is still making waves. The ad, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the sportswear giant's "Just Do It" campaign, debuted in early September to mixed reactions. Many praised Nike for wading into the political debate of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem; others said they would burn their shoes. But early reads on the campaign showed most consumers viewed it favorably, and initial sales results were positive.

Of course, Bono was not the only high-profile politician to slam the ad. Donald Trump tweeted that Nike was getting "killed with anger and boycotts."

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