Things Are Happening – January 23, 2018

It’s a special Tuesday edition of Things Are Happening because it turns out a lot of things are happening, even since last Friday, and let’s be honest, I’m afraid I’m going to forget some of them if I wait all the way until this Friday, by which point Martha and Valeri will have been arrested for murder in the lost city of Atlantis. Which we’ll have to break down in detail.

A. The Board

This week (yeah only this week and not 17 years ago) the big three on the USAG board of directors resigned their positions. That’s the chairman Paul Parilla, vice chairman Jay Binder, and treasurer Bitsy Kelley.

Obviously, the first issue we have to address is what is Bitsy short for? Itsy Bitsy Spider? Because there’s your problem right there.

Sending Paul, Jay, and Itsy Bitsy Spider up the water spout was a necessary move. The whole hideous way this was (not) handled by the organization—the obsessive focus on protecting the financial and public reputation of the organization rather than the athletes— wasn’t exclusively a Steve Penny joint, and others in positions of leadership must be held responsible. This appears to have been driven by the USOC’s displeasure with how much bad press they’re getting USAG not taking responsibility—though Aly is none too happy about the USOC suddenly trying to play the “yeah, USA Gymnastics is a total butthead, amiright? We’re at the cool kids table like Aly” role in all of this.

Removing the board leadership is another necessary step (of many), and one that can be cathartic because it feels like the baddies are getting their comeuppance, but we’re also clearly still in the punishment phase rather than the progress phase. And those are different. These people weren’t the first. It wasn’t just Steve Penny; it was Bob Colarossi before him. It wasn’t just Paul Parilla; it was Peter Vidmar before him. And on and on down the line. If USAG simply appoints another Vidmar/Parilla to take over the board under the guise of “A FRESH START,” then no progress has been made and we’re right back to where we were.

None of us have enough faith in USAG at this point to think that won’t happen. Continue reading Things Are Happening – January 23, 2018