Double Standard Files (Ray Rice Ethics Train Wreck Folder): Why Is Hope Solo Still On The Soccer Field?

Solo abuse

I am certainly in agreement with the cultural standard that the NFL is being forced, kicking and screaming, to define, that standard being that the professional sports organizations should not give the American public the opportunity to cheer physical abusers of domestic partners and children. ( The latest in the purge here.) Professional athletes are paid heroes, and we must choose our heroes well: they can inspire, but they also corrupt. It is not too much to ask athletes being paid millions, who have their faces and names emblazoned on merchandise, their forms plastered on children’s walls and their fame and popularity used to sell shoes and breakfast cereal, to model decent behavior. In fact, it is essential. The NFL’s corporate sponsors understand this even if the violence-addicted fools who run the league itself do not. (See: Cognitive Dissonance).

Will other respectable professional sports—the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL, the PGA—have to follow football’s reluctant lead? I don’t see how they can avoid it. It will be interesting to see how the lesser sports, like professional bowling, and grittier, the macho sports like ultimate fighting and NASCAR handle this. It may well be that the definition of a respectable sport in this country will include whether it continues to promote stars who punch their family members and lovers in their faces and beat their illegitimate children with tree branches. To which I say, good. It’s a start.

That leaves the perplexing mystery, however, of Hope Solo.

Surely you know Hope. She is the tall, beautiful, sexy, outspoken female U.S. soccer star, one of the top goalies in the sport, who has won two Olympic gold medals and is one of the best known celebrities in the supposedly burgeoning sport the rest of the world calls football. She was on “Dancing With The Stars;” she posed nude in “ESPN Magazine’s “body issue.” She’s making sports page headlines on the field regularly, just like Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice. Last Saturday, for example, the United States women’s soccer team beat Mexico 8-0  in Utah, with Solo passing goalie Briana Scurry for the U.S. shutout record. She is also an alleged abuser. Solo was arrested and has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence in the assault of her sister and 17-year-old nephew,and is awaiting trial in November. Photos of the injuries to Solo’s sister and nephew were published in the news media (above–that’s Hope on the right).

If Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and other NFL stars recently suspended for abuse charges shouldn’t be out on the field being cheered—and they shouldn’t—neither should Hope Solo.[From USA TODAY: “In the waning moments of the U.S. women’s rout of Mexico, the crowd behind Hope Solo’s goal began chanting her name. They knew she was on the verge of making history. With the 8-0 U.S. victory, Solo, playing while facing domestic violence charges in Washington, collected her record 72nd shutout with the national team.“The best part about it is the best is yet to come,” she told cheering fans when the milestone was announced at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.”]

Nike just dropped Adrian Peterson, stating, “Nike in no way condones child abuse or domestic violence of any kind… We have suspended our contract with Adrian Peterson.” Nike has a contract with Solo too. Peterson has been charged with domestic violence, so has Solo. Neither has had a trial yet. Why is Nike still proud to have Solo  promoted Nike products, while Peterson, who is an even bigger star in hn his sport than Solo is in hers, is now persona non grata? Because she’s hot? Because she’s white? Because women beating people up is OK?

Meanwhile, though the NFL’s leadership is being ridiculed, savaged, and portrayed as weak, Neanderthal cement-heads for repeatedly minimizing the significance of one football star after another being arrested for abusing  women or children, here is U.S. Soccer rationalizing its head off trying to explain why Solo is still playing:

“We are aware that Hope is handling a personal situation at the moment. 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.”


1. Ah, the “personal situation” euphemism! Hey, it worked for Bill Clinton! I see women on every TV channel, sports and news shows both, mocking the men who run men’s professional sports—the NFL brass is bringing in a team of women to enlighten them regarding how unacceptable player domestic abuse is—but when a female star in a female sport is in exactly the same situation, what matters is her “hard work and dedication” (Bulletin! Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson work hard too!) and the fact that she could set a record?

2. “While considering all factors involved, we believe that we should recognize that in the proper way.” You know what this double-talk means, right? “We want to win. Screw domestic abuse.”

Christine Brennan at USA Today and  Joe Concha at Mediaite, are among the few journalists to do their due diligence and flag this hypocrisy regarding Solo.  Brennan calling for her to be pulled from the team before the Ray Rice Ethics Train Wreck even pulled out of the station, Concha pointing yesterday out the absurd double standard once the train was rolling. Ethics Heroes both.

What is the standard? That it’s only unacceptable for men who are charged with domestic abuse to keep playing? Only African American men? Only football players? Only black, male, athletes? I suspect Hope Solo could beat the tar out of you and me both, probably simultaneously: there is absolutely no justification for this white, gorgeous, soccer player not being treated exactly like Peterson and the other NFL stars who have been charged but not tried. She should be dropped by Nike. She should be suspended by her team, unless the position of feminists is that women can beat up whoever they want, and that’s empowering and social progress.

I would not be surprised if this is their attitude.


Sources:USA TodayMediaite, New York Post, KOTV

Graphic: KIRO TV


37 thoughts on “Double Standard Files (Ray Rice Ethics Train Wreck Folder): Why Is Hope Solo Still On The Soccer Field?

  1. Women can’t abuse, just like blacks can’t be racist, atheists can’t be bigoted, and liberals can’t be wrong. You knew that.

    • Exactly. I’ve said it before, in Cases of domestic abuse, women tend to hit, hit first, and hit more often, but they are less likely to have the police called. If the police come, they are less likely to be taken away. If they’re taken away, they are less likely to be charged. If charged they are less likely to be convicted. If convicted they are sentenced more leniently. At every step of our system, women are treated with relative privilege to men, and this is a case in point. Lesson to be learned: If you’re going to commit domestic violence: Vagina check first.

  2. “…the supposedly burgeoning sport the rest of the world calls football.”

    If only arbitrarily. Soccer is the term INVENTED by the British and used almost EXCLUSIVELY as the name of the sport until the late 90’s and early 00’s (as well as other places doing the same). They only started switching to “football” during the 00’s as part of the global unification stemming from origins I won’t discuss here.

  3. Jack,
    I know you don’t like the game, but even you have to admit that “football” is a far more appropriate name, not simply “what the rest of the world calls it.” We’re the idiots in this scenario who so gradually changed the game (or adopted modified versions of it) that we never stopped to realize the original name no longer made sense, It’s like our patent refusal to adopt the metric system or that we still refer to Native Americans as “Indians.”

    I’m not suggesting the game should be popular here, but to call it “soccer” is the folly of the uneducated.

    • You are right, of course. I just enjoy tweaking soccer at any opportunity. Very little of American football is played with the foot (outside of running), whereas football is very descriptive of what we call soccer (and what does that name mean, I wonder, not that I care enough to check).

      Hope calls it soccer, though, and she’ll knock your teeth in if you try to argue with her…

  4. TexAgg,
    You’re a little off. The game was named “football” but, when they began formalizing the rules to create leagues it was termed “Association Football” (“soccer,” for short) to differentiate it from other versions of the game

  5. Texagg,
    Sometimes a name is just a name and a game is just a game. It seems like you’re trying to apply larger meaning to things that just aren’t there. The “push” for football has more to do with the quaint realization that the rest of the world cheers for something we care little about. It gets big around the time of the World Cup (or whenever there’s some big pairing) and then dies down again shortly after.

    I’m not sure why you felt it necessary to emphasize “invented” and “exclusively” (as though they’re loaded words) nor what the naming has to do with anything in the first place. The rest of the world does, and always has, called it football. It was only the British and, by extension, Americans who adopted the colloquial name of “soccer.”

    Also, calling the Scottish move for independence silly would seem to indicate someone with no real understanding of the implications. I agree many of the distinctions are trivial, but defining them as “silly” only minimizes the important actors and issues involved. Had the vote been successful, there would have been a major shift in European political and economic happenings that wouldn’t have felt at all “silly” to those involved.


    PS; Jack, from what I understand the game was referred to as “Association Football” which, for purposes of writing, was rendered “Assoc. Football.” And. the British being fond of adding playful “er” suffixes to things, began calling it “Soccer.”

    Makes me want to eat a banger with a jammy dodger for dessert, all while buying knickers with my left hand, because I’m a mollydooker.

    • “Also, calling the Scottish move for independence silly would seem to indicate someone with no real understanding of the implications.”

      I assure you, my reading of this is far more holistic than yours.

      And claiming that the potentially destabilizing effects of a “Yes” vote victory automatically makes it a non-silly movement is a non-sequitur…as a matter of fact, depending on the likelihood and severity of such consequences, a “Yes” vote victory would very well be why it is a silly independence movement.

      And yes it does matter that the rest of the world was comfortable with the term soccer until recently. It’s only recently you see self-righteous individuals feel the urge to correct people who use the term “soccer”.

      • As to the name of soccer, here in New Zealand we also called it soccer and I only became aware when I was young that it was also called football when immigrants from Britain came to my school. Australians also call it soccer.

        Scotland yesterday and Quebec in 1995 were free to have a democratic vote on whether or not they should separate. So I am just wondering, would any state of the USA be free to have a similar vote if it so wanted or would the federal government prevent them from doing so?

        And another thing, today here in New Zealand today, it is election day, a Saturday. I was wondering why in Britain elections are held on Thursdays and in the USA on Tuesdays. Wouldn’t it be easier the people to vote on a Saturday when there is less people working therefore resulting in a higher turnout?

        • The histories are different between the US States and the various British former colonies/dependencies that have peacefully voted on independence. The thirteen original U.S. colonies, voluntarily voted to form a perpetual Union. There were no issues of race or subjugation, as this was all conducted among primarily Englishman. Quebec, in contrast, is a strongly French colony, that was taken forcefully by the British. There is a distinct national culture that separates it from the rest of Canada. Similarly for Scotland, the culture is very distinct, and until recently, they had very little self governance apart from their representation in the UK Parliament (and when has the UK Parliament ever neglected an outlying territory 😉 ).

          The US Civil War was fought ostensibly due to distinct cultural differences between the North and South, but the issue of slavery gave the Southern cause such a repulsive taste, that such reasoning could be tolerated as a reason to divide the Union. The Supreme Court later ruled that it was unconstitutional to secede, and the that Confederacy never legally existed. The only way a state could secede today would be through an amendment to the Constitution, or by calling a Constitutional Convention by two thirds of the States. It is thus possible for it to happen, but due to our strong shared history, it would have to be a joint decision.

        • Oh, the reason election day will never be on a Saturday is because of Jewish citizens – not a minority anybody should want to appear to disenfranchise in anyway!

  6. As for the main topic, I think domestic violence is one of those subjects where the truth is definitely not welcome. There is a stereotype and a narrative for domestic violence, it is driven by women’s groups, and no one better challenge that rhetoric, especially with facts.

    The data I have seen or years indicates that women are more likely to be the initiators of domestic violence than men. When studying domestic violence, it is found to be least prevalent in relationships with homosexual men, most prevalent in relationships with homosexual women, and intermediate in prevalence in heterosexual relationships. The explanations I have seen basically argue that anti-domestic violence education has worked. It has lowered the previous levels of domestic violence…but only in men. Anti-domestic violence education is targeted only at men, women don’t get it and the perception is that women can’t be abusers. This results in a situation where most abuse may be perpetrated by women, but only abuse by men is recognized. Because of this, anti-domestic violence groups themselves are may be responsible for whitewashing and ignoring most incidents domestic violence.

  7. Texagg,
    I don’t have a hard time believing you’re more read on the subject than I, but presuming so speaks to deeper insecurities on your part.

    You say it “matters,” but don’t say why. The “rest of the world” never was comfortable with it. It was used briefly in the UK and adopted here. In every other country it is (and has always been) called “football.” It was only recently that people began correcting others because it was only recently that the game has gained any amount of popularity in “soccer-using” countries, leading to the confusion. When I lived in Spain, found myself occasionally using the word, only to be corrected; the people doing it weren’t being self-righteous, just correcting an error.

    Finally, while Michael R’s assumptions may be incorrect (and I would agree they are), assuming that he “hates women” is another presumption on your part based on little more than other presumptions.

    • I deliberately avoid saying “soccer” while aiming every time to pronounce the name of the sport “foooooT [as in “fool”]-bowl,” with a put-on, quasi- or proto-Latino accent, so as to continually emphasize that that sport is for “fernerz,” not for us “Muricans.” I can’t help thinking about so many aspects of the sport as metaphors for societies full of desperately impoverished people ruled by ruthless totalitarians. (I prefer baseball.)

      • I dunno what Jack’s opinion is on the ethics of doing bad accent work. I’ve gotten a LOT of laughs doing stereotypes (Hispanic laborer, Irish drunk, guido, mafioso, Arab terrorist, Indian store clerk, Chinese faux-philosopher). However, I wouldn’t dare do any of them where kids might hear them, think they were funny, and then repeat them at exactly the wrong moment (you know they will, that’s what kids do).

        • Accents, dialects, spoofs of ethnic speech quirks, all are the basic tool kit of comedy. Political correctness bullies have been trying hard to make people stop laughing, and have has some success. It’s ridiculous.

          • For your courage you win a free one-year subscription to PIN – the politically incorrect network. Laugh to the classic antics of “Amos n’ Andy,” the multiple goofs of Jack Benny and company, and the forever battling Bickersons. Then stay tuned for drama with old-time morals from the Lone Ranger and follow Sergeant Preston and his faithful dog King as they face The Challenge of the Yukon. Keep that dial in place for mystery hour as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson unravel the murders and mayhem of Victorian London and Elliot Ness and the Untouchables battle Al Capone. Finish the evening with the feature presentation. Will Gunga Din warn the British in time? Can the Blackhawks send Hitler’s pilots back? Will Hawkeye and Chingachgook uncover the plot of the evil Hurons? Can Nayland Smith stop Fu Manchu’s latest mad gambit? Or something else altogether? Tune in and find out!

            • The TV version of “Amos and Andy” was hilarious, and all that has been accomplished in banning it from re-runs is that some wonderful black comic actors who should be household names are completely forgotten.

    • I believe I made it clear, it matters because the self righteous indignation showed towards those who say soccer as though they are backwaters rubes is unfounded and unfair, given the recent worldwide acceptance of both terms for the game.

      And see my explanation for my comment to Michael R. Jokes like that are prevalent here.

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