Raisman The Latest Gymnastics Star To Criticize NGB's Interim CEO
Gold Medal-winning U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman in a series of tweets yesterday "spoke out against" USA Gymnastics interim CEO Mary Bono and criticized the NGB for hiring her, according to Mahita Gajanan of TIME. Bono previously worked for Faegre Baker Daniels, a law firm that represented USAG in '15 in its "initial investigation of Larry Nassar." Raisman wrote, "My teammates and I reported Nassar’s abuse to USAG in 2015. We now know USOC & lawyers at Faegre Baker Daniels 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?" She added, "Clearly this is not a 'new' USAG. Same corrupt decisions. Perhaps it’s because true accountability is less likely if authority is placed in the hands of someone similarly motivated to avoid it." Faegre Baker Daniels "rebuked Raisman’s claim that the firm covered up abuse." The USAG BOD in a statement said that Bono’s work for the firm "was not related" to the '15 investigation (TIME.com, 10/15). REUTERS' Frank Pingue noted Bono will fill the role of CEO while USAG "searches for a permanent successor to Kerry Perry, who took over last November after predecessor Steve Penny resigned following a review" into how the NGB "handled allegations of sexual abuse" (REUTERS, 10/15). In a special to the BOSTON GLOBE, Raisman writes under the header, "The Role That Adults Can Play In Fighting The Stigma Of Child Sexual Abuse" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/16).
TIME TO LISTEN: Raisman's comments came after Simone Biles over the weekend posted a tweet critical of Bono's hiring. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk said when an athlete of Biles' caliber "speaks out, USAG has to listen." Gosk: "You have to wonder whether she’s being involved in the conversation to begin with and whether they should start doing that.” NBC’s Craig Melvin said having officials at the NGB talk with gymnasts about the direction of the organization “seems like a no-brainer” (“Today,” NBC, 10/16).
NOT A GOOD LOOK: USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes the hiring of Bono is an "untenable decision that must be overturned immediately." Bono "must step down," or USAG "must remove her." There is "no third option." The trust of the athletes and the nation in an organization "teetering on the brink of moral collapse depends on this swift action." It "doesn’t matter if Bono knew nothing about this." USAG "cannot be led, even on an interim basis, by someone with any ties to that scandal." There have to be "thousands of Americans who would be qualified for this job who haven’t been associated with Faegre Baker Daniels" (USA TODAY, 10/16). ABC's Robin Roberts said it "doesn't seem like that's too much to ask, to have somebody who's not in any way associated" with the past investigations and scandals ("GMA," ABC, 10/16).