Hope Solo – Gonna take a mighty swipe at the high hog

Hope Solo, WWC 2007Does everyone remember back in 2007, when Hope Solo watched the USWNT get their asses kicked in the World Cup, then made a statement to the Canadian media that amounted to, “Greg Ryan is an idiot for benching me because I am this US team’s number one GK, and there are no stats in goalkeeping–shut up, Heifetz, I’ll say what everyone is thinking if I want”? Originally, the video of this statement was available online, unedited, but I guess what aired on TV were the incendiary clips that got Solo kicked off the team. Rioting ensued, Solo apologized on MySpace, and she became the major storyline of the USWNT for the next two years.

Now it’s 2010 and Solo has returned to filing complaints in public spaces. This time, however, she is skipping the middleman. Earlier this season she complained about American soccer commentators

I’ve heard the best commentating throughout these wc games! All from other countries. We have a long way to go here in the US! They truly know how to let the game be played and speak for itself. They have funny little comments and then return to the game. And they don’t over analyze!!!! It makes watching the games much less frustrating and much more enjoyable!

WPS reffing and discipline

Here we go again… Protection

What are we the legal system now? Perhaps jail time too? An orange jumpsuit? The guillotine? Trying to make an embarrassment out of people? Should I be laughing! I just don’t know anymore.

Anybody want to join us for some community service? Its a tough task laying out by the pool while trying to put back tasty beverages.

[A/N: The above occurred around a red card incident with Solo’s Atlanta teammate Kia McNeill, who came studs-up (about shoulder height) at opposing goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart. This was McNeill’s third red card in two years. The discipline committee reviewed the incident and added two additional suspensions–a total of three games missed–and four hours of community service, which clearly means little in WPS. An appeal was made, to no effect.]

and in response to team/league press releases

Lucky? I don’t think so. When will little old atlanta get a bit of credit. Who writes these press releases?

Most recently, Solo has caused a stir following Atlanta’s 2-0 loss at Boston (which she preceded with a minor rant about officiating).

To all the boston fans and especially the young kids that I didn’t sign autographs for I’m sorry. I will not stand for An organization who can so blatantly disrespect the athletes that come to play. Perhaps the WPS or Boston themselves Can finally take a stance to the profanity, racism and crude remarks that are made by their so called “fan club” To the true fans, I hope to catch you at the next game. Thanks for your support and love for the game.

There is a lot of discussion right now, with Boston’s Riptide defending themselves and both Boston and Atlanta’s front offices talking about making a joint statement. Et cetera. I agree that the issues that have been raised by Solo and the ensuing reactions definitely open the main door on the soccer-and-race discussion for WPS, but since it looks like the “discussion” is about denying racism instead of acknowledging that it is a mainstay in soccer and–founded or not–Solo’s allegations can be used as a chance to combat it early on in the league…

Admittedly, I let myself get distracted by the media issue. One of the things that people have been saying is that Solo should have filed her complaint about the Riptide through formal channels instead of making her accusations in front of 1.8k followers on the internet. She should have signed for the young fans and spoken to the media immediately after the game.

Wait, what?

Solo is not the most PR- or Twitter-savvy player on the USWNT or in the WPS, but she seems to have learned her lesson about speaking to the media (the mediators) immediately following an infuriating match. Regardless of her intentions, not engaging with fans–particularly the young ones that are often clamoring for signatures while wearing the opponents’ gear–immediately following an infuriating match is probably a good thing, considering her temper and opinionated nature.

Solo’s grasp of Twitter and microblogging leaves much to be desired, but she is her account’s sole mediator. She bypassed a more immediate outlet (the fans and press at the field) for a slightly less-immediate outlet where she would have control over expressing her message. WPS established Twitter as one of the league’s legitimate media components from the start, so this platform stands above a statement made on MySpace–I don’t see any comparison between the two except that they are both player-controlled and on the internet. These 140 characters can’t be edited at the source, only posted or deleted. Nearly a week later, nothing has been deleted.

Last year, when Sky Blue FC axed two coaches in mid-season, there wasn’t any transparency. Complaints were filed through the “right” channels and implied in mediated ones. Information from all sides of the story was sorely lacking. We see a lot of this in women’s soccer, so it’s key when the players, especially, take possession of the messages that end up in public.

Even more so, it’s fascinating to see the high-profile Hope Solo adjust her approach to a tension-filled situation in a positive and slightly more controlled manner now that her options for mediation have changed. It’s taking so long for the “right channels” to address this formally that it’s hard to believe the fans ever would have heard about such a serious accusation if Solo hadn’t taken it upon herself to apologize to young fans for her absence.

Edited to include the “joint statement” from the Breakers and Beat, poorly named “Solo statement”:

Westwood, MA (August 9, 2010) –The management of the Atlanta Beat and the Boston Breakers have worked together over the past several days to look into the alleged incidents of fan misconduct and the subsequent post-game public comments of beat goalkeeper Hope Solo during the Breakers-Beat game at Harvard Stadium on Wednesday, August 4th.

After interviewing fans, players, security personnel and team employees, it seems clear that a few individual fans shouted comments towards the field that crossed the line from traditional heckling to abusive language that is neither respectful of the players, nor apppropriate for the family friendly entertainment environment that the Breakers pride themselves on. The Breakers organization extends an apology to all members of the Beat team & staff and to any Breakers fans that were offended by the actions of these unidentified individuals. The Breakers have also pledged to place additional stadium security in closer proximity to the stadium sections adjacent to the visiting bench and goalkeeping areas to further ensure a safe and enjoyable game environment for all participants & spectators.

The coordinated review of the Breakers and the Beat also conclusively showed that at no time was there any organized or coordinated singing or chanting of racially insensitive slogans or profanity by the Riptide supporters group or any other group of fans. The Beat regret that a member of their organization used social media to make public allegations against the Breakers organization and its supporters group without first bringing her concerns to the attention of either club. The Beat and its players understand that the remarks were from a few individuals and not representative of the Breakers organization or the Riptide supporters group.

Both teams look forward to contesting the remainder of this exciting WPS playoff race on the field and to their next head-to-head competition on August 21st, when the Breakers and the Beat meet at Veterans Memorial Stadium in New Britain, Connecticut.

20 Responses to Hope Solo – Gonna take a mighty swipe at the high hog

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Hope Solo – Gonna take a mighty swipe at the high hog « The Cross-Conference Collector -- Topsy.com

  2. CScottM says:

    I don’t think there’s much difference, though, between her ’07 statements to the media, and her ’10 statements via twitter; they’re both public (to a different degree), and deliberately bypass ‘proper channels’.

    I agree completely that WPS is too opaque; it seems the only messages that get out most of the time are the “girls love soccer! yay!!!” variety, when we really want to know what’s going on with Kai and Sky Blue, or what’s going to happen in Washington, etc.

    But Hope’s tweets (man, does that sound funny) certainly didn’t help anything. What she’s done now is put a huge target on herself (over the big one she already had) AND her team for all other fans in the league. And as for the owners in the league, they all desperately need fans, and – barring any video/audio evidence; you know, something to replace this media narrative – they’re all going to defend their own fiercely. Per their statement, Boston is going to do something about ‘bad’ fans, but you know they’re not grateful to Hope for this. Will the visiting Beat now be “that team”, adding more troubles for the teams, fans, and people running the stadiums?

    In short, I don’t think she learned anything since 2007; the lesson wasn’t which medium to use, but to craft a more savvy message. Tweeting “sorry fans, but I had a bad experience in Boston and will be taking it up with the teams and the league” would have been smarter than calling out the Boston fans directly, and wouldn’t have put so many other people on the defensive.

    • vRm says:

      Thanks for your comment. The whole thing does kind of give me pause–on one hand, Solo is an amazing keeper and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. On the other, she’s become abrasive (this season especially) and potentially destructive again.

      I suppose that it might help to amend that WPS is too opaque, and the individual teams vary in their transparency/illusion of transparency. I equate the FSC broadcasts with the league’s opacity and watched the Boston-Philadelphia game curious as to whether anything would be said. Granted, this was before the joint statement came out, so I might have to watch this weekend’s game as well (bummer. It’s going to be boring).

      One thing I’m hearing right now that kind of makes me pause is that there are a lot of WPS fans that still haven’t heard about this incident. Either they don’t soak up all the news online like some fans do, or they just aren’t interested in Atlanta and Boston. If the league doesn’t acknowledge it and if the casual fan isn’t involved enough to be aware of it, will the negatives really play out?

      I don’t know so much that the Beat are going to be “that team,” regardless. Riptide and Solo had their issues when she was with StL, too. I talk about this a bit in our upcoming podcast, but it kills me that what Boston is “doing” about “bad” fans is placing security near the goalkeeping areas and visiting bench. It has nothing to do with the fans or players in general, but seems specifically geared towards Hope Solo. I understand defending the fans (income), but at the same time… racism is a serious allegation. If Solo had gone through “proper channels,” neither organization would have publicly acknowledged the issue, and I think the wording of the joint statement backs up that theory.

      And although I disagree with you on the channels she should have gone through, I agree that she needs to be more savvy. Maybe that’s something she can work on with the World Cup around the corner.

  3. Marisa says:

    I want to start by saying that I am not in the loop with most of the inner workings of the WPS although I try to keep up, but I may not know all the facts.

    With that said, I think its nice to hear some criticism of the league from an actual player who lives it day to day. Everyone seems to be walking on eggshells at every bad thing said about the league because well, its obviously fragile (financially, and emotionally so it seems). Unfortunately what started as healthy criticism (of American soccer, not specifically WPS) about American commentary turned into awkward snide remarks (the community service thing). I completely agree with what she said about the American commentators. They were horrid at best. I also agree that the officiating in WPS needs some work. Is it as “unfair” as Solo suggests? Not really. I just think its extremely inconsistent.

    I really want to see WPS get stronger and I think there’s a lot to work on. While I’m glad someone is speaking up, I’m a bit unhappy it had to be in a Jr. High-esque rant on twitter instead of in a more formal manner. Since Solo doesn’t have much of a track record for formal complaints I suppose I should just say that I hope she continues tweeting. Hell, I hope she starts a blog. I agree with a lot she says, BUT unfortunately she does it so poorly that no one is going to take her seriously. It reminds me a little of Walter from the Big Lebowski.

    Walter: Am I wrong?
    the Dude: No Walter, you’re not wrong.
    Walter: Am I wrong?
    the Dude: NO Walter, you’re not wrong. You’re just an a**hole.

    And also, its nice to see people such as yourself trying to get some actual dialogue going about women’s soccer.

    • vRm says:

      Obviously I don’t have an inside scoop, either, but these are good discussions to have. :)

      Although I did not post about Solo’s ref rants, and I’m not sure if you have listened to CCC’s podcast where I talk about it, I found her tweets about the carding, discipline, and community service pretty offensive. Less because the game was against FCGP and more because a) the player was a repeat offender, b) the player on the other end of her studs was a goalkeeper, and c) it seemed even more snide than her recent remarks about Boston.

      I agree, Solo should really consider taking her issues to the blogosphere and changing her tone. Maybe she could check out Natalie Spilger’s blog, first, and compare it to what Spilger puts on twitter.

      By the way, thanks for dropping by and commenting! It’s not a dialogue unless others join in.

      • Marisa says:

        I haven’t listened to the podcast yet but I’ll get on that! Yeah, that whole little batch of tweets about that red card were pretty ridiculous. I just went back and read her twitter stuff and it seem less like criticism of the officiating and more like a one-woman support group for Kia McNeill. I don’t know much about the other cards she’s gotten but obviously that studs up challenge on Barnhart (if I remember correctly) was pretty damn bad. I also just saw on her twitter what looks like a rant about Puma (which was not very well disguised as promotion for Nike).

        Coming back and reading all this stuff the next day makes me much less optimistic than I was yesterday about “healthy criticism” coming from Solo anymore.

        And go Pride!

  4. Julie says:

    CScottM hit on a great point, “WPS is too opaque; it seems the only messages that get out most of the time are the “girls love soccer! yay!!!” variety, when we really want to know what’s going on with Kai and Sky Blue, or what’s going to happen in Washington, etc.”

    Let’s be honest. We want the juice. Those are the stories that start dialogues and keep people invested in the league. Yes, we need the straight journalism and the real stories, but the WPS is currently trying too hard to be squeaky clean. There is drama, OK let it play out then and if you make Twitter a big part of your communication network then you have to accept the pros-and-cons of such a medium.

    The sporting world is struggling to figure out Twitter and how to manage it. Let players go at it, manage their tweets, or don’t let them tweet at all. The WPS seems to be between (1) and (2), which I like. But when you take that stance things like this will happen. Instead of blowing up about it (which I’m not saying anyone is doing), deal with it and move on. I’d like to see this situation move on without any “Hope is banned from Twitter” or drastic measures like that. She is one of the names in the league, in the sport worldwide, because of her skill, her looks AND her drama. She catches headlines, and I think the WPS wouldn’t be hurt by more players being a bit more dramatic…thoughts?

    • vRm says:

      Thanks for joining the discussion!

      I agree, WPS has tried too hard to be clean. With DiCicco getting fined last year for saying that the reffing sucked, I was worried this year when Spilger reacted on her blog to her red card. Pretty sure she wasn’t fined for that, and Solo wasn’t fined for her complaints about McNeill’s discipline–and I’d be really disappointed if she were fined or disciplined at all for what she’s said on Twitter. Solo is an easy scapegoat and an established personality, so why not let her exercise that? No one asks Kai to cover up her tattoos, Spilger to stop trying to save the environment, Lohman to fix her hair, or any of the numerous Christian players to stop expressing their faith, so why ask Hope Solo to stop complaining on the internet?

      Maybe WPS is worried about being *women’s* *soccer* in America, because that already feels like two strikes against them. But the WNBA probably benefited from having the Detroit Shock and Bill Laimbeer, a team and coach with bad reputations and definite personalities, so “bad” drama isn’t the sort of thing that is going to kill a women’s league. Censoring probably wouldn’t help, especially when it goes against the (positive) illusion of transparency and connection that social media offers in WPS.

  5. CScottM says:

    I like your point about how many fans haven’t heard of this, and I kind of glossed over that in my saying that her tweets now are the same as talking in front of a camera in ’07; yes, twitter is public, in that anyone in the world can find any (non-private) tweet ever posted, but if you don’t know where to look, you’ll never know they’re there.

    We still rely on word-of-mouth to know who to follow on twitter and blogs; there are no billboards or TV ads or magazine ads to direct us to them. This leads to a lot of us hearing only part of the conversation.

    In this case, I follow Hope, and WPS and the teams, so I know what she said and what the official responses were, but I don’t know much about that the Boston fans said about all this, other than the ‘official’ Riptide statement. I get the impression that some might have said things that gives credence to Hope’s complaints, but it’s all secondhand.

    And for many, as you point out, they have no idea about any this. Or, they’ve heard that Hope Solo shot her mouth off again, or on the other side, that Boston fans are really racist, but that’s all they’ve heard.

    Not a good way to have a conversation!

    So… how do we fix that? :-)

    • vRm says:

      How do we fix that? So many places to go with that question…

      Obviously you can’t go to the league or teams about it. They have already said what they are willing to say–which is very little.

      You can’t go to the journalists, because those that are worth going to have to play by a particular set of rules–which means they can’t say much more than the leagues or teams.

      You can’t go to other players, because they’re already in a more precarious position than everyone else.

      That’s particular to this situation, though.

      How do we remedy getting as many sides of the story put together as possible? I really don’t know. ;)

      I’m working on a post right now about the situation with Cal’s soccer team in 2009, and I’m getting frustrated with trying to pull together all of the sources that my perspective is informed by because it’s all in memory without citations. It’s not fresh on the internet, and some of the text is no longer in original form. And it occurs to me that we’ve got the same problem here, only more so–it’s college soccer and you *really* have to dig for whatever you can on that. If the average fan didn’t already care about Cal, I doubt they would have come across more than a couple pieces of the puzzle, if that.

      A little off-topic, but basically to the same point. I think it’s on the fans and bloggers to pull all the information together: press releases, news articles, rumors, blog responses, tweets, etc. It’s a lot of “use your best judgment” as you go further down the list. Brings me back to wishing we had a women’s soccer wiki to house the lore, but alas, that is its own can of worms. In any case, it seems impossible to make sure all of the sides are covered, much less heard.

      • cscottm says:

        I’m with you on the lack of archiving, and they need for such. I’m especially frustrated with USSoccer.com’s ‘archive’; if you look at the U-17 women’s team, the records only go back to 2009, completely omitting the 2008 WWC, in which they were the silver medalists.

        How is this even possible?!?

        I’m not even talking about blog entries or rosters, I’m talking about basic results. You’d never even know that just *two years* ago, the US U-17 WNT competed in the WWC final. The *entire history* of the U-17 WWC is just two years long, and even that is one year too much for US Soccer.

        I’m… speechless.

        OK, now we’re way off-topic. To keep this somewhat relevant: I wonder if a wiki is the only way to go. I would say to just use wikipedia, but a LOT of stuff would get flagged for not being important enough to include. And we can all guess how many revisions the ‘Hope Solo vs Riptide’ article would go through before being banned completely.

        Is Google’s caching of any use in digging up anything? I’ve sometimes found older versions of magazine articles, for instance, but I don’t really know how it works: if an article is completely deleted and the website is restructured (as many colleges seem to do regularly), will Google search still pull it up?

        • vRm says:

          You would *think* US Soccer would want to preserve the good result of that 2008 U-17 group, given that they are the U-20s from this year and the new U-17s are a bunch of Mulans. (That’s okay, I still believe in them.)

          As Julie linked below, you can try the Wayback Machine.

          And as for Wikipedia, for sure–I have a friend that specifically works on women’s soccer articles there, but youth players, especially, get flagged for deletion. I don’t know the first thing about setting up and maintaining a wiki, but I would be willing to learn and contribute if it meant the fans of the game could preserve an overwhelming amount of lost history. The logistics and parameters boggle the mind–no way this could be comprehensive–but it would be an interesting project, right?

          • Julie says:

            Would linking to the youth players college profiles help? Or are you talking youth below college level…in which case don’t they have US Soccer profiles? Linking seems to help the wiki’s accept the info and not get flagged in my experience.

            • teamongolia says:

              In my experience, linking to the youth players’ college profiles on Wiki doesn’t always help. Example: Jordan Angeli’s wikipedia article, in particular, was threatened with deletion while she was still playing with the Santa Clara Broncos; even back then, with an assortment of references–mostly news articles dating from 2005 and 2006, as well as an official FIFA profile because she played at the 2006 U-20 WWC– it had to be rescued by a moderator who deemed the reasons for deletion less significant than the reasons for keeping it.

              Other articles with college player profiles linked and were threatened with deletion were Veronica Perez (Washington) even thought she also plays for the Mexico senior national team, and Amanda Poach (Santa Clara, drafted by the Athletica in January 2010).

              • Julie says:

                Hmm interesting. Wiki can be quite vexing. I wonder if you can contact someone there to validate the link, rather than moderators simply marking and deleting without much rebuttal.

                (clearly I’ve not wiki-ed much, as I’m sure there is a classic answer to that)

  6. Julie says:

    USSoccer did recently (last year or so) switch to a new website. I’d hope that’s the cause of info loss…

  7. Julie says:

    If you want to have fun searching their OLD (and ugly) site…here’s a web-time-machine ;)


  8. Pingback: Cal Bears 2009, in which Alex Morgan resembles Hope Solo (only better) « The Cross-Conference Collector

  9. Pingback: Cross-Conference ‘Cast – Episode 11 – Closer to Björk « The Cross-Conference Collector

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