U.S. Soccer sends strong – and troubling – message with Hope Solo suspension
At what point is a superstar more trouble than she’s worth?
How many infractions of team rules does it take? How many run-ins with the law? And how many displays of poor sportsmanship and taste?
Before the collective heft of those actions outweighs the benefits of her contributions on the field?[restrict]
Does Hope Solo the goalkeeper still justify having to deal with Hope Solo the person? The one who can’t keep her mouth shut after painful losses? The one whose criminal case for allegedly abusing her half-sister and her son has been reopened? The one who has had several other run-ins with the law? The one who has brought more negative attention to the United States women’s national team than every other player in its long and laureled history combined?
Those are the questions U.S. Soccer must have grappled with before deciding that Solo no longer justified the bother of having Solo on the team. On Wednesday, she was formally suspended from the women’s national team for six months, a year and a half after she was suspended for 30 days when her husband, former NFL player Jerramy Stevens, was arrested for driving a women’s national team van under the influence with Solo, reportedly also inebriated, in the passenger seat – an incident she failed to disclose to the federation before it was reported in the media.
This time around, Solo called the Swedish team that knocked the USA out of the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics on penalties “cowards” for its conservative playing style, just after the loss cemented the worst American performance at a major tournament. She was heavily criticized for her comments, including by several teammates.[/restrict]