When Olympian McKayla Maroney broke her silence on the assault she says to have suffered at the hands of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, the gymnast also set off a lawsuit against the sport’s governing body for what she alleges is an attempt to sweep the abuse she, and over 100 other women, faced at the hands of the now disgraced doctor.
With Nassar’s sentencing happening this week, Maroney’s story is in the spotlight once more. This time, model Chrissy Teigen is making headlines for offering to pay the fine if Maroney does end up getting charged for breaking her NDA.
Teigen tweeted the headline of a Daily Mail story on the fine potentially awaiting Maroney for speaking out at Nassar’s sentencing this week. She wrote: “The entire principle of this should be fought – an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla.”
Of course, this fine is what Maroney is currently suing USA Gymnastics over. Maroney’s suit argues that because of laws in her home state of California, which protect individuals from being silenced about abuse endured as minors, the organization’s insistence that she sign the NDA to receive a settlement in 2016 was not legally binding.
At the time of her settlement, Maroney had pulled out of the sport due to trauma, which caused her to lose income. Maroney’s lawyer John Manly told NBC at the time of the filing that not only was the non-disclosure agreement “hypocritical, immoral and in this case illegal,” but, he argued that those responsible should step down from their positions of power within the organization for how they treated Maroney.
Manly continued: “If they would treat one of the most famous athletes in world like this, how poorly would they treat a recreational gymnast abused by her coach?”
When Maroney spoke out in October, USA Gymnastics praised her, though her coming forward had, in fact, broken the original NDA. Her lawyer Manly also praised his client for speaking out, telling The New York Times, “it takes tremendous courage to publicly disclose [assault], knowing that any day there could be a process server at her door.”
At the time that Maroney’s suit was filed, a spokesperson for USA Gymnastics told the Times: “contrary to reports, the concept of confidentiality was initiated by McKayla’s attorney, not USA Gymnastics. USA Gymnastics cannot speak to the mediation process, which is confidential and privileged under California law. The process culminated in a settlement agreement that included a mutual non-disclosure clause and a mutual nondisparagement clause.”
There has been no further comment from Maroney or USA Gymnastics on the former athlete’s suit.
What do you think of Chrissy Teigen’s offer? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photos via Ronald Martinez/Getty Images + Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for The Art Of Elysium )