Football, as an industry and community, takes great pride in being socially progressive. Teams host pride nights and our favourite players wear rainbow laces. We all say no to racism. Homophobic chants are not allowed in our stadiums. Footballers around the world stand together in solidarity when one of them is bullied. Yet, the case(s) of Hope Solo prove, women are still a long way from being equals to their male counterparts.
Granted, football is a predominately male sport and only over the past few years have women been making a mark in the industry. The inequality is still at an all-time high and women players are constantly reminded who the game favours as in the case of Hope Solo. How?
Well, Hope Solo is statistically one of the best female goal keepers on Earth. That is a numerically founded fact. Nevertheless, her name garners more mention of scandals than of success.
She called another national team coward. Members of the Real Madrid squad very publicly called an individual opponent, Gerard Pique, a bastard during their recent title celebrations. The difference? Hope took the heat and her words are still unforgotten to theis day but the incident that happened less that 2 weeks are ago is forgotten and buried.
Hope Solo was involved in an alleged domestic violence situation with her sister and nephew. We hate to even go into the muddied waters of details, but if we are going to mention such an incident, there has to be some context. The exact details of the case are very sketchy. We are not insinuating that anything did or didn’t happen. Domestic violence is an extremely serious issue but we just going to give our readers a few highlights about was has been confirmed by the legal system and disseminated by reputable media outlets, most notably ESPN https://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2016/08/24/uswnt-hope-solo-suspended-us-soccer-six-months-olympics-sweden-cowards Although Solo was arrested on the night of incident, she was never sentenced to a jail term due to legal technicalities. Court documents confirm that Solo’s two alleged victims changed their stories a few times. Police evidence proves that Solo’s sister and nephew were both hurt, and they obviously did not hurt themselves. Police records conclusively say that Solo’s nephew struck her across the head with a pole, allegedly out of self-defense. Family issues are intense. It has been confirmed that Solo was sloppy drunk that night. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle of the many stories that the three individuals involved have told both the court and the media. Only the people who were there that night know what truly happened, and considering that two of the people were under the influence of alcohol and all three were in a very emotional disagreement, their honest recollection of the situation might not be reality.) With all that being said, why do we even have to get into that? Boa Esporte recently signed Bruno Fernandes de Souza, who murdered his girlfriend and has recently been released from prison.
Hope Solo infamously referred to Jill Ellis, current USMNT head coach, as “a poor leader and bad tactician.” That was a bad move on Solo’s part. It is never wise to bite the hand that feeds you, or, in this case, the hand that can let you back into the national squad before you’re so old and out of match fitness that no club or country will want you. Nevertheless, Zlatan Ibrahimović almost came to blows with Pep Guardiola and claimed that he (Pep) is a bad coach, a spineless coward and has no balls.
Hope Solo unwisely allowed her husband to drive the national team van. As if lending a company car to a non-employee is not enough of a sin, he was also arrested for a DUI while driving the van that he shouldn’t have been driving in the first place. Arturo Vidal was driving drunk and crashed. He shed a few tears in a press conference, and it’s as if that potentially tragic night never occurred.
Let’s say that Hope Solo is the most obnoxious, person in the world. Let’s say that she does have a terrible attitude. Let’s say that all of the allegations are true. Let’s say that she is a hardened criminal. Even if all of that were true, why should it affect her career? Bad attitudes and legal issues never seem to have a last impact on the careers of male footballers.
There are plenty of male players within the sport of football who consistently display an ugly attitude both on and off the field. There have been plenty of players with confirmed legal issues. For example, when Lionel Messi was on trial for not paying taxes but his team led a campaign of support for him. All the male footballers mentioned have not had their careers halted because of their actions.
Maradona was on cocaine for goodness’ sakes, got suspended forever and was still allowed to come back!
Football needs to take a long, hard look at itself. Why do we, as the footballing community, want to crucify a woman who has made unwise decisions when we have short term memory when it comes to the things that male players do?