The U.S. Soccer Federation has terminated their contract with goalie Hope Solo. But is their reasoning fair?
After the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics, Hope Solo left the field under the impression that it was only the end of another tournament—while the devastating loss actually turned out to be the end of her career.
The U.S. Soccer Federation fired the goalie for remarks made after the women's team fell to Sweden in penalty kicks, an interview in which Solo called their opponents "a bunch of cowards," and stated that she thought "The best team did not win." The Federation met with Solo in Seattle after her return from Rio, decisively suspending the two-time Olympian and terminating her contract with the team.
While this might seem like an isolated incident, Solo has had a somewhat checkered past since her career with the national team began in 2005.
In 2007, she was reprimanded by her teammates after the U.S. women's team lost in that year's World Cup for expressing her distaste at being benched in the defeat against Brazil. In 2014, Solo was arrested in her hometown of Seattle on charges for domestic violence against her sister and teenage nephew. And last year, the nationally-renowned goalie was a passenger in the team van her husband was driving when he was arrested for drunk driving––serving a 30-day ban after the incident. U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati stated that these previous lapses did factor into their decision to terminate her contract with the team.
Solo expressed that she was "saddened" by the Federation's decision.
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) August 25, 2016
This entire ordeal occurs amid the attention several members of the women's national team, including Solo, have received after filing a complaint in March with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, arguing that they had been discriminated against in regard to their compensation compared to the players on the U.S. men's team.
Rich Nichols, a representative for the women's national team's players' association is already planning on filing a grievance and says he will petition for Solo's punishment to be reconsidered by the organization, and simultaneously expressed his concern of perceived imbalances between genders.
"She was fired for making comments that a man never would have been fired for," he stated.
It seems as if the 2016 Olympic Games were eventful for our beloved U.S. athletes, as news from U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte's forged robbery scandal is still buzzing around in the news.
However, it's interesting to note the differences in media coverage that male athletes face in the wake of bad press. Instead of getting axed from the team like Solo, or torn apart by social media like Gabby Douglas after her failure to place her hand over her heart during the national anthem, viewers can tune into ABC this fall to catch the swimmer on the upcoming 23rd season of Dancing With the Stars.