The NFL's handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case has opened a belated discussion on how professional sports enable crap behavior in their athletes, and the private horror of domestic violence for its victims. But in the flurry of firings and bannings and panel appointings in the NFL, one professional sports league has done nothing to discipline its own high-profile athlete accused of domestic abuse. After all, she has a World Cup to qualify for.
The Washington Post's Cindy Boren rightfully takes the Seattle Reign and US Soccer (and their fans) to task for largely brushing aside domestic violence charged faced by superstar goalie Hope Solo. Earlier this year, Solo was accused of physically attacking her 17-year-old nephew and half sister in their home during a drunken disagreement (the nephew tried to fend her off with a broom). When she was ejected from the home, she hopped a fence and circled around to an unlocked sliding door, re-entering against their wishes. She's pled not guilty to two gross misdemeanor charges.
But she plays on. She played last night. And there are no plans to take her off the field.
Here's Boren with more on why:
Solo, who is also on the Seattle Sounders roster, continues to play as a big year for women's soccer is looming with qualifying this fall for the next summer's World Cup.
"We are aware that Hope is handling a personal situation at the moment," said Neil Buethe, U.S. Soccer director of communications, told USA Today last month. "At the same time, she has an opportunity to set a significant record that speaks to her hard work and dedication over the years with the National Team. While considering all factors involved, we believe that we should recognize that in the proper way."
"She has an opportunity to set a significant record" is among the least sympathetic excuses for not benching a player facing domestic abuse charges I've ever heard. Right before "Yeah but she was drunk!" or "That kid looked at her weird." Records be damned; Hope Solo screwed up.
As Boren points out, Solo's case highlights the fact that domestic violence isn't always a man head butting a woman and breaking her nose because she refused him sex. Sometimes it's a woman calling her nephew "too fat to be an athlete" and then physically attacking him. Sometimes it's not a professional athlete. Sometimes it's your neighbor. And no matter who it is, it's not a matter that should be minimized or ignored.
Image via AP