When one considers the criticism that Lolo Jones received in an article by the New York Times during the London 2012 Summer Games, it is remarkable that Hope Solo emerged unscathed. While Brandi Chastain is not the John Madden of soccer broadcasting, Solo's remarks about Chastain on Twitter were still out of line.
This is an example of social media becoming stupid media.
Rather than air dirty laundry and turn the problem into a public one, it would have been better for the Team USA captains to talk to head coach Pia Sundhage and discuss the matter with Chastain and any USA Soccer executives behind closed doors. Even if Chastain did not do the greatest job at broadcasting, she is an American soccer legend and a role model to a generation of girls.
If Hope Solo is attempting to become a Dennis Rodman-like figure in soccer, it seems to be succeeding. What is more upsetting is that espnW reported that her teammates backed Solo in her comments about Chastain on Twitter. If such events are true, where is the leadership on this team?
Even worse, Solo stated that the thought of being disciplined by Sundhage made her laugh. Such a remark displays nothing more than arrogance and adds fuel to the fire in the rivalry between Solo and Chastain.
Had Solo just said that she made those remarks out of frustration and did not mean to be insulting, the matter would have just gone away.
While it is true that male athletes who are brash and outspoken are popular, the reality is that class athletes like Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning maintain a higher standard. As a role model herself, Solo must maintain that standard.
Based on the United States performance against Canada, in which Canadian player Christine Sinclair (the London 2012 Golden Boot winner, a two-time WPS champion and the Hermann Trophy winner in the NCAA with 143 goals scored in international play) scored a hat trick against Solo, perhaps Chastain was not so critical.
Considering Solo tested positive for a banned substance prior to the London 2012 Summer Games, the truth is that a more disciplined coach would have banned her from the team.
Many soccer fans have claimed that officiating in the semifinal versus Canada and in the final versus Japan was questionable.
In many ways, this gold medal is a tainted one.
Even worse is Solo discussing in her autobiography being shunned and accused of treason after the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. She publicly criticized coach Greg Ryan for benching her in favor of Brianna Scurry in a match against Brazil. Her statements about living in the past and not relying on big names undermined Ryan's authority while insulting Scurry. Hope claims that the captains had told her she had broken the code. Ryan announced she would no longer be with the team and it was the right decision.
Could one imagine if Joe Montana had publicly criticized Steve Young in San Francisco, or Derek Jeter criticizing A-Rod in New York? While both may have had valid arguments for doing so, both took the high road.
Solo is considered an American hero, and she must learn to act like one. Mia Hamm would never have publicly humiliated a teammate.
Solo seems to be engaging in a pity party in which she is a victim. One can speak their mind but do so politely without dropping names and poisoning the locker room. It is time for her to step up and employ wisdom and diplomacy in her thinking.
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