Simone Biles, record-breaking champion of the vault, is fresh off selection camp in preparation for the Doha, Qatar world championships—but that doesn’t mean she’s not keeping an eye on what people in her sport are talking about. On Saturday, she took to Twitter to call out a tweet by Mary Bono, a former Republican congresswoman from California who had just named the interim president and CEO of USA Gymnastics the day prior, in which she criticized Nike for its affiliation to Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL player who famously knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racism.
Biles had apparently been scrolling through to see what her sport’s new leader was up to (or had been up to) and noticed a tweet from Bono dating back to September, right after Nike launched its “Just Do It” campaign featuring Kaepernick. It consisted of a photo, presumably of Bono, marking out the Nike swoosh on a pair of shoes, in protest of the ad. The champion gymnast wasn’t about to let that moment slide: Biles issued an epic tweet of her own that resurfaced Bono’s original social message.
“mouth drop,” Biles replied to the tweet. “don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything”
Biles was presumably referring to past USA Gymnastics leadership—specifically, past president Steve Penny, who was a key figure in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal that rocked the gymnastics world earlier this year and was named in a damning ESPN report as one of the leaders who allegedly helped to cover up the rampant abuse. (She herself is one of the abuse survivors.) Plus, Biles has been sponsored by Nike.
A few hours after Biles’ response, Bono deleted the original tweet and issued an apology on the social media platform: “I regret the post and respect everyone’s views & fundamental right to express them. 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,” she wrote.
Bono also acknowledged that her Tweet—now a topic of conversation—wouldn’t exactly disappear: “Hey all, I know the Tweet will live on but have taken it down to move the focus to all I hope to accomplish on behalf of a great sport & those who are dedicated to it… I look forward to telling my gymnastics story, my vision for the future of the sport and why I wanted the job.”
Given that Bono’s tweet carried an implication of disdain toward people who have been victimized, it’s not a great look for a president coming in to carry forward an organization and team just recovering from sexual abuse scandal. A perfect 10 for Biles, though—as per usual.