Hope Solo is currently serving a 6-month suspension from the US women’s national team after her contentious behaviour at the Rio Olympic games. Calling the Swedes “cowards” in a post-match interview following a shootout loss was deemed unacceptable by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). However, they’ve also terminated her contract and new footage (below) has been released of a distraught Hope Solo where she is shown to be outraged by her contract termination.
While it is clear that her comments were childish and unsportsmanlike, the punishment does seem incredibly harsh. Trash talking has always been present in sports. Calling her opponents “cowards” after a loss is unprofessional in every manner, but does she really deserve contract termination and a suspension?
It seems that the USSF took her past behaviour into account as Solo has been troublesome in the past. In 2014, Solo was arrested on domestic assault charges after a drunken fight with her half-sister and her nephew (later dismissed by a local judge; a trial is pending).
While in 2015, she was also suspended from the USWNT for 30 days after her husband (former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens) was arrested and charged with driving the US team van under the influence with her. In short, yes, this punishment doesn’t fit the crime. However, considering her history, the USSF were looking for any reason to get rid of her. Solo was on a very short leash.
“Coming to terms with the fact I was fired from the US women’s national team after 17 years of service has been devastating,” Solo posted on her twitter on Tuesday.
“I have decided to end my season with the Seattle Reign, an organization I love playing for,” she added. “Mentally, I am not there yet.”
From a sporting perspective, this is a significant loss for the USWNT, the NWSL and for women’s football. As arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, the sport and the fans lose out. Nevertheless, if you’re tough to work with (Solo’s controversies would suggest so); you’ll get punished regardless your talent.