Sport Soccer

Thursday 12 December 2019

Hope Solo will continue to play for United States team despite domestic abuse charges

Hope Solo
Hope Solo

Jenn Selby

The United States were so shocked by the unfolding Ray Rice NFL scandal earlier this month, that saw the player banned from the pitch indefinitely after footage emerged of him knocking his partner unconscious, that President Barack Obama issued an official address.

"Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that's true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors," the White House statement read.

"Stopping domestic violence is something that's bigger than football – and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it."

But it doesn’t seem to be bigger than soccer, if the treatment of Hope Solo, a female goalkeeper currently awaiting trial for allegedly attacking her 17-year-old nephew and adult sister in June, is anything to go by.

The athlete returned to the pitch last week, despite her charges – a move that saw the New York Times accuse the sport of "turning a blind eye on domestic violence".

"Ah, to be a strong and successful role model, especially for the next generation, and to have the honor to represent your country," columnist Julian Macur wrote.

"But look past the patina of glee and here’s what you will see: a team and a league – not named the N.F.L. this time – that are tone-deaf when it comes to domestic violence and how they handle players who have been accused of it."

Similarly, the Washington Post branded Solo’s continued inclusion in the sport the "domestic abuse case no one is talking about".

Since then, Sunil Gulati, the president of the US Soccer Federation, has released a statement defending the decision to keep the goalkeeper on.

"From the beginning, we considered the information available and have taken a deliberate and thoughtful approach regarding Hope Solo's status with the national team," it reads.

"Based on that information, U.S. Soccer stands by our decision to allow her to participate with the team as the legal process unfolds. If new information becomes available, we will carefully consider it."

The U.S. Olympic Committee chief executive officer Scott Blackmun countered Gulati’s defence, telling USA Today that he felt "abuse in all forms in unacceptable".

"The allegations involving Ms. Solo are disturbing and are inconsistent with our expectations of Olympians," he said in a statement.

"We have had discussions with U.S. Soccer and fully expect them to take action if it is determined that the allegations are true."

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