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.
*mouth drop*— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) October 13, 2018
don't worry, it's not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything https://t.co/cYQizcjywn
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.
My teammates & I reported Nassar's abuse to USAG in 2015. We now know USOC & lawyers at Faegre Baker Daniels (Mary 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?— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) October 15, 2018
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.
Here is the statement I released earlier today regarding my resignation from USA Gymnastics pic.twitter.com/Oqga5FTXvx— Mary Bono (@MaryBonoUSA) October 16, 2018
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..."
Mary Bono is OUT as @USAGym interim president and CEO. In exit stmt, she defends her tweet marking out @Nike logo on her sneakers: "With respect to Mr. Kaepernick, he nationally exercised his first amendment right to kneel. I exercised mine" pic.twitter.com/qS0uaGdXyl— Sarah Boxer (@Sarah_Boxer) October 16, 2018
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."
Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018