Simone Biles Called Out USA Gymnastics For Their Birthday Tribute
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles called out USA Gymnastics and urged them to have an independent investigation of Larry Nassar on her birthday. On March 14, the sports organization tweeted a birthday tribute to Biles and wrote, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the most decorated gymnast of all time, @simonebiles! We know you will only continue to amaze us and make history!” Biles then cited the organization’s proposed settlement offers to the victims of Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor currently serving a life sentence in prison for the sexual abuse of more than 200 athletes, including Biles.
“How about you amaze me and do the right thing... have an independent investigation,” Biles tweeted in response to USA Gymnastics on Saturday. In January 2018, Biles echoed the allegations of other prominent gymnasts, such as Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and McKayla Maroney, and alleged that Nassar had sexually abused her, too. “I am not afraid to tell my story anymore,” she tweeted with the hashtag #MeToo. “There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault.”
Nassar, who also worked as a doctor at Michigan State University, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct in November 2017, and said in a court statement that he was “so horribly sorry” for his actions. The convicted serial molester was sentenced to 40 to 175 years and later, an additional 60 years behind bars that totaled at least 100 years in prison.
This isn’t the first time Biles has called for an investigation. Last November, the Wall Street Journal reported that USA Gymnastics allegedly hid the Nassar investigation from Biles, who was among one of the first athletes to voice concern over the doctor. On Twitter at the time, Biles reacted to the report with disbelief. “Can’t tell you how hard this is to read and process. The pain is real and doesn’t just go away...especially when new facts are still coming out,” she tweeted. “What’s it going to take for a complete and independent investigation of both USOPC and USAG???”
In lieu of an independent investigation, USA Gymnastics announced a proposed settlement of $215 million to Nassar’s victims in January. Biles joins a roster of other prominent gymnasts who have since blasted the settlement. Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of assault, wrote that she was “beyond disappointed” in a tweet. “Noticeably absent from this plan is any of the specific reforms we've publicly asked for, for years,” she wrote. “How much is a little girl worth? Apparently far less than the damage she's incurred.”