Hope Solo Attributes Suspension to Push for Equal Pay for Female Soccer Players

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2016

COMMERCE CITY, CO - JUNE 02:  Goalie Hope Solo #1 of United States of America defends the goal against the Japan during an international friendly match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on June 2, 2016 in Commerce City, Colorado. Japan and the United States played to a 3-3 draw.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Hope Solo is speaking out against the United States Soccer Federation after receiving a six-month suspension for her comments about Sweden following the U.S. women's national team's loss at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.       

During Friday's episode of the Keeping Score documentary series (via Caitlin Murray of Fox Sports), Solo alleged her suspension stemmed from the equal-pay lawsuit she and four of her teammates filed against the organization in March.  

Per Murray, the documentary was filming Solo after she was informed of her six-month suspension. She returned to what appears to be her home and said this to the crew:

Literally 17 years on this team and then to be treated this way in the end is, (pause), not surprising from U.S. Soccer, to be honest. ... I feel like I’m being pushed out ‘cause it can’t be based off performance, my health. It can’t be based off anything but they don’t like me ... because they know I’ve been fighting so hard for equal pay.

Solo went on to say the U.S. Soccer Federation is "going to use my comments as an excuse to get rid of me forever so that they don’t have to deal with such a strong voice and opposition to field conditions and playing conditions and pay."

Teammate Megan Rapinoe supported Solo's assertion in a separate on-camera interview in the documentary, via Murray: "As a member of the team and of the CBA group and of the PA (Players Association), I’m pretty unhappy with a sort of arbitrary six-month suspension for calling someone a coward. ... I think that there’s probably some legal strategy going on with it all.”

Per Andy Clayton of the New York Daily News, Solo referred to the Swedish team as a "bunch of cowards" for its style of play and said "the best team did not win today" after the U.S. fell 4-3 on penalty kicks in the Olympic quarterfinals.

On Aug. 24, the U.S. Soccer Federation officially gave Solo a six-month suspension for the comments she made following the game against Sweden. Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated added that the organization terminated Solo's contract with the U.S. national team.

The 35-year-old has played for the U.S. national team since 2000. She has been a key piece of the team's two Olympic gold-medal campaigns in 2008 and 2012 as well as its run to the FIFA Women's World Cup title in 2015, when she posted five shutouts.