Sport executives and congressional reps demand answers as USA Gymnastics CEO offers few

Torrey Hart
Yahoo Sports Contributor

Georgia congressman Buddy Carter spoke Wednesday at a subcommittee hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, making clear his anger towards USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry.

“There’s one thing I haven’t heard from any of you, and that is ‘I’m sorry,'” Carter said.

Carter was on-site as Perry apologized to the victims of Michigan doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse and was expected to answer questions on the situation for the first time in her six month tenure. Lamenting USA Gymnastics’ handling of initial allegations toward former coach William McCabe, now serving a 30-year prison sentence, Carter questioned Perry regarding the lawsuit against McCabe.

USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry testifies before the House Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Wednesday. (AP Photo)

He asked whether McCabe would have had to undergo a background check, to which Perry, who assumed her position in December 2017, said: “I was not there. I can’t answer that.” She did not take questions from reporters after the hearing.

Perry took over after former CEO Steve Penny resigned in March 2017; he was followed by the entire board after former United States Olympic Committee CEO Steve Blackmun made threats to decertify the organization. Blackmun later resigned at the demand of multiple U.S. senators.

The suit in question was filed by a gymnast from Carter’s state, who alleged that McCabe videotaped her undressing, among other things. The gymnast revealed that USA Gymnastics had received multiple warning about McCabe, but because of an internal policy of not following through on child sex abuse reports unless submitted in writing and signed by a victim (or their parent), the warnings were overlooked.

U.S. Olympic Committee Acting CEO Susanne Lyons, USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry, USA Swimming President and CEO Tim Hinchey, USA Taekwondo CEO Steve McNally, USA Volleyball CEO Jamie Davis, and U.S. Center for SafeSport President and CEO Shellie Pfohl as they prepared to testify Wednesday. (AP)

Speakers besides Carter included executives from the national governing bodies for swimming, taekwondo, gymnastics,  and volleyball, as well as other congressional representatives, who questioned the inconsistent policies around abuse in all 48 Olympic sports. Policies on background checks, forwarding of abuse reports, and notification of disciplinary actions vary drastically among the sports.

A recent inundation of reports to the U.S. Center for SafeSport has also led to concerns about the organization’s ability carry out its intended function.

Despite her refusal to answer questions, Perry did address Nassar’s victims, saying that she is “appalled and sickened by the despicable crimes of Larry Nassar,” and that “those days are over.”