Monday, January 23, 2017

The Murky Side of Hope Solo

Hope Amelia Solo, the gorgeous looking cover girl of American sport, often the darling of the United States Women's football team IS also the perpetrator of an assorted array of various shenanigans over the years, which has unfortunately damaged both her sporting and celebrity image.

Here are a list of some of Hope's transgressions over the years?


Solo was the starting goalkeeper for the United States in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China.
Heading into the semi-final match against Brazil, U.S. coach Greg Ryan benched Solo in favor of 36-year-old veteran U.S. keeper Briana Scurry, who had a strong history of performance against the Brazilians but had not played a complete game in three months. Scurry had a bad match, and Brazil ran away with the game in a 4-0 win over the United States.
Solo was unable to keep her frustration under wraps, and launched a tirade against the coach and Scurry: "There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves," she said. "And the fact of the matter is, it's not 2004 anymore…It's 2007, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past. It doesn't matter what somebody did in an Olympic gold-medal game in the Olympics three years ago."
Following her outburst Solo released an apologetic statement the following day but Greg Ryan announced that Solo would not be with the team and would not play in the third-place match against Norway the following day. Team captain Kristine Lilly stated that the decision on Solo was made by the team as a group.


In 2008, it was announced Solo would be the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In a reversal of roles from the 2004 Olympics, Briana Scurry did not make the team, though she was an alternate. On 21 August, the U.S. women's team won the gold medal by defeating Brazil 1–0 in extra time, in no small measure due to Solo's outstanding performance in goal. After the team won gold, Solo appeared on NBC Today Show, and she stated in a 2012 article appearing in ESPN The Magazine that she was drunk while on air:-
"When we were done partying, we got out of our dresses, got back into our stadium coats and, at 7 a.m with no sleep, went on the Today show drunk. Needless to say, we looked like hell."


Solo apparently didn't learn her lesson after the 2007 incident with Scurry. Solo signed with WPS expansion team, Atlanta Beat in May 2010. However following a play-off loss against Washington Freedom in September 2010, Solo took to social media and laid down a blistering Twitter attack directed on two fronts, accusing Boston Breakers supporters of offensive chanting and racist remarks towards a teammate, then questioning the integrity of match officials and the league itself.
"It's official, the refs are straight bad," she said (via The Washington Post). "It's clear the league wanted DC in the playoffs. I have truly never seen anything like this. It's sad. I am done playing in a league where the game is no longer in control of the players."
According to The Washington Post, those comments (among others in her tirade) earned her a $2,500 fine, eight hours of community service, and a one-game suspension from her team.


Leading up to the Summer Olympics, Solo received a public warning from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after a 15 June urine test concluded the banned substance Canrenone had been detected. Solo said in a statement she had been prescribed a pre-menstrual medication and was not aware it contained any banned substances. She cooperated with the USADA and provided them with the necessary information to prove that it was a mistake. Her story checked out and she was cleared with a public warning. The positive test did not require Solo to withdraw from any pre-Olympic matches.

During the 2012 summer Olympics in London, Solo raised eyebrows when she went on the record about the sex, drinking, and other debauchery that happens inside the Olympic Village. She told quite the wild tale to ESPN magazine: "I've seen people having sex right out in the open. On the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty." Solo also admitted to sneaking celebrities and other non-Olympians into the Village after-hours

Hope Solo can't even get married without some sort of incident. Early on the morning of her wedding day on 12 November 2012, Solo, her brother Marcus Solo, and her husband-to-be Jerramy Stevens were involved in an alleged drunken altercation during a soiree at her home. Around 3a.m, Marcus made a series of four calls to 911 to request medical assistance resulting from a brawl involving a stun gun. According to ABC News, a female house guest suffered injuries to her hip, Hope had a bloody elbow, Marcus had blood on his forehead and knees, and police said Stevens "appeared to be hiding" between the bed and the wall of the mater bedroom. Authorities believed Stevens caused Hope's injuries and arrested him for domestic violence assault, reported ABC News. The pair wed later that same day, and police reportedly dropped the charges when the alleged victims refused to co-operate.


In 2014, Solo was one of the victims of the iCloud leaks of celebrity photos, during which several nude pictures of her were leaked online. She expressed solidarity with the other women affected and criticized the perpetrators: "This act goes beyond the bounds of human decency"

On 21 June 2014, Solo was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault in the fourth degree; one against her half-sister and the other against her nephew. At the police station, while cops were trying to book her into jail, ESPN said Solo "was so combative that she had to be forced to the ground, prompting her to yell at one officer, you're such a b***h. You're scared of me because you know that if the handcuffs were off, I'd kick your ass." When asked by an officer to remove a necklace, Solo reportedly "told the officer that the piece of jewellery was worth more than he made in a year." She was booked under her married name of Hope Amelia Stevens.
After pleading not guilty, she was released the following day. In August, her trial was scheduled for 4 November 2014, but this was later delayed until 20 January 2015. On 30 December 2014, the judge ordered more depositions from the defendants and delayed a decision on whether charges against Solo would be dropped until 6 January 6 2015.

Following her arrest, Solo sat out one game for the Seattle Reign and the NWSL allowed her to continue playing soccer through the end of the 2014 season. There was some debate in the media about whether this exemplified a double standard in professional American sports.


On 13 January 2015, the judge dismissed the assault charges against Solo based on a lack of cooperation from both alleged victims
However, prosecutors filed an appeal with the Superior Court of Washington. Prosecutors were scheduled to file their argument by 13 July 2015, with the defense due to respond by 10 August 2015. Oral arguments were then scheduled for 11 September 2015.
The charges were reinstated in October 2015. On 8 June 2016, KING5 Seattle reported that the state appeals court denied a discretionary review to dismiss the reinstated domestic violence charges. Solo can appeal the ruling to the Washington state Supreme Court

During the semi-final match of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada between the United States and Germany, she used a stalling tactic - almost to the point of impropriety. Solo wasted a lot of time pointing to the referees and her teammates, then taking a long drink of water and even pouring some down her neck.
The tactic worked: as the tournament's high scorer, Célia Šašić, missed her penalty kick, to keep the game scoreless. This marked the first time a German team, men's or women's, had missed a penalty in a World Cup. The US went on to defeat Germany and lift the World Cup trophy and Solo received the Golden Glove trophy as the best goalkeeper.

During a training camp for the U.S. women's national team in 2015, Solo reportedly slipped away from the facilities in a U.S. soccer team van for a rendezvous with her husband, former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens. Allegedly, Stevens was too sloshed to be driving, and the pair were pulled over by police in Manhattan Beach, Califiornia. Stevens was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, reported ESPN W. Solo wasn't arrested, but the run-in with cops was embarrassing to the national team and coaches, particularly because they didn't learn about the incident until it was reported on TMZ. As a result,
Solo found herself serving yet another 30-day suspension from the national team.


At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Solo found herself at the center of two controversies that angered many soccer fans around the world. First, she became the target of offended Brazilians after she posted pictures on Twitter of her mosquito net and an arsenal of bug repellent, with the hashtag #zikaproof. Brazilian soccer fans responded by hounding Solo during the U.S. Team's matches at the Olympics. Each time Solo touched the ball, they chanted "Zika" at the top of their lungs.
Solo attracted more controversy in the United States' quarter-final defeat by Sweden. During the penalty shootout she caused an interruption of several minutes when changing her gloves before Sweden's final kick, in an apparent act of gamesmanship. Lisa Dahlkvist was seen to laugh at Solo's antics, before calmly converting the penalty to eliminate the United States.
Following the match Solo called her opponents "a bunch of cowards" in reference to their ultra-defensive tactics, adding "The best team did not win today, I strongly, firmly believe that."
The remark was made to Grant Wahl (an American sports journalist) in the raw aftermath of the defeat, part of a wide-ranging interview in which she also praised her team's Scandinavian conquerors. The comments sparked outrage from athletes, coaches, and fans around the world.
The International Olympic Committee called Solo's comments "disappointing" but said she was unlikely to face formal disciplinary action adding: "People are free to say those things. We wouldn’t stop their right to express themselves, within boundaries, obviously." Swedish coach Pia Sundhage was more blunt in her assessment: "I don't give a crap. I'm going to Rio, she's going home" and later said, "I think she was just stressed, and that she did not really mean it."

On 24 August 2016, following Solo's comments at the Rio Olympics, US Soccer suspended Solo for six months and terminated her national team contract, making it her second suspension from the USWNT. The governing body said that Solo's previous misconduct had influenced its decision. Solo reacted angrily, saying that her comments had been used as a pretext to force her out, due to her prominent role in the national team's campaign for equal pay.
Teammate Megan Rapinoe speculated that Solo's termination was "probably some legal strategy" on the part of US Soccer. In announcing a legal challenge to US Soccer's action, the players' lawyer Rich Nichols termed it: "excessive, unprecedented, disproportionate, and a violation of Ms. Solo’s First Amendment rights."

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