Hope Solo Punished For Refusing To “Play Like A Girl”

Hope Solo has not only been suspended from the USWNT by the US Soccer Federation, but her contract terminated. Essentially her career stands publicly on the gallows cause she said an opponent had played “like cowards.”

You already know how I feel if you saw my tweets:

There is no “persistent infringement” clause in professional sports. Any argument that justifies this decision to suspend her and terminate her contract by taking her priors into account is bullshit. An athlete is judged on the severity of each individual criminal act and dealt with by their organization accordingly. See Mike Vick, Johnny Manziel, Ray Lewis, Adrian Peterson, Michael Irvin, et al.

This reeks of sexism. Our society still expects women to be good little girls. And the cognitive dissonance between strong, dominant women excelling at athletic competitions while revealing their drive, grit and anger is something we haven’t learned how to digest as a culture. We’ll allow women to be athletes, and great ones, if they are graceful (and scantily clad) swimmers or gymnastic (and besparkled) pixies. But god forbid if you play rugby or basketball and sweat and grunt.

Take Michael Phelps for example. A classic “repeat offender” of misdemeanors:

2004 – Arrested for drunk driving

2009 – Cited for public marijuana use

2014 – Arrested more drunk driving

What is Solo’s record:

2007: Insulted her USWNT teammate and fellow goalkeeper Briana Scurry, who shipped 4 goals in the World Cup semis: “There’s no doubt in the world I would have made those saves.”

2012: reported herself a victim of domestic abuse, later dropped charges

2012: insulted former teammate, and then tv analyst, Brandi Chastain “Lay off commentating about the game until you get better educated.”

2014: arrested for alleged abuse against her sister and nephew. charges originally discredited, but now reinstated pending appeal.

2016: Said Sweden played “like cowards”

So Solo has one criminal transgression, potentially was the victim in another, and runs her mouth. That’s it.

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Guess what? Athletes run their mouths. Michael Jordan and Larry Bird were infamous assholes. So was Ty Cobb. Richard Sherman was recently lauded (after some initial racist bullshit) for speaking his mind and publically disparaging his opponent on national TV calling a specific opponent a “sorry ass receiver.”
Terrell Owens may be the closest comparison to Solo. He was rarely in real legal trouble, but often in the headlines for odd things (OD’ing on sleeping pills in a was it/wasn’t it a suicide attempt) and running his mouth. He called one teammate with the 49ers gay in a magazine interview (saying “if it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it’s a rat)”, then questioned the masculinity of another, and the blackness of another (calling him an “Uncle Tom”). His antics like stomping on the midfield logo of certain teams, and mocking specific opponents with jeering dances were seen as the colorful antics of a “diva” receiver.

Aside from the serious criminals here (Mike Vick, Ray Rice), few of these men received the public censure and discipline that Solo has received. And some have come through legitimate legal troubles embraced by public opinion (Ray Lewis, Michael Irvin).

America’s sexual double standard is grossly apparent in sports. Women are allowed to be winners as long as they are ladylike first. Solo herself noted this in her autobiography saying, “In order for the world to pay attention in 1999, a female athlete had to be a role model loved by everyone. In 2012, she doesn’t. And that may be a weird form of social progress.” It seems she was wrong. Even in 2016, a women needs to be a lady first and foremost before she can be anything.

 

Updated: October 3, 2016 — 2:45 am
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