McKayla Maroney’s Fight for a Voice

Olympic Gymnast’s Legal Struggle


McKayla Maroney competes in the 2012 summer Olympics. Maroney was under the care of serial abuser Dr. Larry Nassar at this time (courtesy of Fox News).

Ellie Coppock, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

Larry Nassar, a doctor for the USA Olympic Gymnastics team, is facing charges for sexual misconduct. Hearings for the case began last week. Ninety women spoke in court about Nassar’s actions.

One woman who didn’t speak out was McKayla Maroney. Maroney competed in the 2012 Olympics where she won a gold medal in the team competition and a silver metal in individual vault. According to USA Today, in 2016, Maroney signed a confidentiality agreement with USA Gymnastics that stated she had to remain silent about her abuse. USAG payed her $1.25 millon. If the agreement is broken, she could face a $100,000 fine.

On Tuesday, January 16, model Chrissy Teigen tweeted a screenshot of an article that described Maroney’s contract. “The entire principle of this should be fought- an NDA to keep quiet about this serial monster with 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla,”said Teigen. After the statement, other celebrities offered to split the payment with Teigen, including Kristen Bell and Ken Tremendous.

According to NBC News, Maroney responded by saying, “Thank you Chrissy, you’re so inspiring, and things are starting to change because of people like you! Just saying that was worth the decision to speak up regardless of a fine. You’re heart is pure gold. God bless. All my love, McKayla.”

According to ESPN, later on Tuesday night, USA Gymnastics decided not to fine Maroney. They also released a statement stating, “This has been her right and USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority — the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them.” Maroney’s attorney, John Manly, says that this is not true. Manly said, “Under the [agreement’s] terms she could not speak in court unless subpoenaed. She could not even have her statement read without fear of a lawsuit against her by USAG.” The legal definition of subpoenaed is to be ordered to attend court.

Maroney spoke out on Thursday, January 18, stating, “He abused my trust, he abused my body, and he left scars on my psyche that may never go away.”

At least 140 of the victims are suing Nassar, USA Gymnastics, and Michigan State University, institutions they accuse of ignoring the allegations, according to the BBC. The BBC  also reported that Judge Janice Cunningham said they have identified 265 victims and “an infinite number of victims in the state, in the country, and all over the world.”