The Committee to Restore Integrity, made up of a number of Olympians and other stakeholders, is calling for a “near-complete resignation of the U.S. Olympic Committee board and senior leadership,” per a press release published today.
The release references the appointments of Rich Bender and Steve Mesler to the USOC board as the catalyst for the group’s call for mass resignations. The two were appointed to four-year terms on the board.
Bender, the executive director of USA Wrestling, was newly appointed to the USOC board this year. He’s been the head of USA Wrestling since 2001. The Committee to Restore Integrity in its press release said Bender “intimidated and insulted athlete-leaders that spoke out against the USOC’s current culture,” noting that the recent Ropes & Gray report had specifically highlighted that behavior as dangerous and problematic for the USOC.
Mesler, a three-time Olympian in the bobsled, was appointed to the USOC board in March of 2015. The Committee’s release says Mesler “frequently defends the USOC’s cultural status quo.” The release also criticizes the USOC for appointing Mesler as athlete representative without asking the Athletes’ Advisory Council for feedback.
The USOC has already seen the resignation of CEO Scott Blackmun, who resigned last February, citing health concerns but also amidst a wave of criticism surrounding the Larry Nassar trial.