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Things Are Happening – October 16, 2018


A. What a Bono

How’s a person supposed to preview worlds sufficiently when things keep happening?

Anyway, to the surprise of no one, USAG’s interim disaster Mary Bono resigned today as CEO, not quite four days after being hired. Although, the announcement came late Friday, and the next two days were weekend days, so we’re looking more at 1.33 business days at best (no credit as a wolf double). That means there’s still some discrepancy over whether this counts as defeating MLT’s short-tenure record or not. Thoughts and math welcome.

In her resignation statement, Mary spares a thought for the real victim in all of this—herself. For how dare she be forced to suffer at the hands of her own thoughts, words, and actions. Charitably, she also spares a thought for the secondary victim—us—for not getting to experience the wonder that is her. I guess.

The second paragraph is probably my favorite. “I had a storyline to roll out, I tell you! A storyline! Look how calculated to garner sympathy and deflect criticism it was!” That storyline, and the lack of understanding that we the public are looking for qualifications not storylines, is probably what accounts for the board making this bizarre selection in the first place.

She goes on to tell us that she is being personally attacked (translation: she had to face actual criticism for her bad takes and it made her feel yucky in the tum-tum for a second), defends her work for the law firm that represented USAG in 2015 (which the board apparently thought there would be no problem with), and goes on to kinda-sorta double down on the Nike tweeting that got her in trouble in the first place, but also rewrites history by pretending it was just a single emotional reaction to a phrase in a commercial. It wasn’t.

If anyone out there is studying narcissism right now, these last few USAG resignations should be a whole class. BUT WHAT ABOUT MY REPUTATION. Because that’s what we’re all concerned about here. Her reputation. How unfair is it that her reputation be based on a thing that she said and did?!?! Especially when it could be based on how much money she has, or who she knows, or how white she is, like normal! You know, the stuff that really matters.

Anyone who trots out #butmyreputation loses me instantly. Get over yourself.

So what now? We’ll forget Mary Bono was even a person in about 30 seconds, so moving on, this isn’t really about her. It is still about a board that for some reason thought this was a good idea. To appoint a divisive character who was previously associated with those true heroes, the USAG lawyers? To appoint a politician? On what planet did those look like good ideas? Even before this whole Nike incident, this felt like the complete wrong direction to go, which will probably get lost now. There were big problems well before we found her twitter.

The board needs to check itself and adjust those priorities. Or better yet, just get out?

If not, maybe try a character who doesn’t have any prior associations with your nonsense at all? Who is likely to support the concept of athletes speaking, regardless of who they are or what they’re saying or how? For an organization that has been on the bad guys team an awful lot lately, and that has a big problem with silencing athletes already, those should be basic requirements. How were they not?

Also, can we really trust a CEO who doesn’t use the serial comma?

B. Dan Kendig retires

Dan Kendig, who has been head coach of the Nebraska women’s team for 25 years, announced his retirement today. It’s just a retirement party around here, suddenly.  I thought this was supposed to be a lighter year for coaching changes.

Unlike Miss Val, Kendig isn’t going on a farewell season tour. His retirement is effective immediately, which is pretty unusual for October since preseason has already started. We’re expecting to hear more information soon.

For now, Nebraska already had a qualified understudy associate head coach in Heather Brink, who will take over head coaching duties.

Which also provides an opportunity to bring back this:

C. The Gabby bars

By popular demand, I’m including the long-lost Gabby Douglas 2011 team final bars routine, which took place back in the days before the internet existed apparently because we had never seen it. Until now.

D. GymCastic

Fear not, we just recorded an addendum to this week’s episode to address Mary Bono’s retirement. I may have done a sassmonster-fueled staged reading of her resignation letter. #ManyRegrets

Look out for the episode coming soon. As well as getting into the Bono situation, we’ll talk about the US selection camp, Simone’s new vault, potential worlds lineups, the Tom Forster Q&A, the US individual world cup selection procedures, Youth Olympic Games, and Romanian nationals. It’s a jam-packed treat, especially if you’re a fan of Jessica’s rage-o-meter.

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