Reign goalkeeper Hope Solo has never publicly addressed domestic-violence accusations made against her. That poses a dilemma in the NWSL championship.
It’s the National Women’s Soccer League championship game, and I want to be jazzed, but I have to admit that I’m struggling.
It’s a chance for this city to seize a pro sports title, and I’d like to be pumped, but the air just keeps seeping out.
Seattle Reign FC will take on FC Kansas City in the NWSL final Thursday in Portland, and while I want to be excited, there is one thing I’m having an impossible time getting past.
But, hey, I suppose that’s how goalkeepers earn their money.
We are now about three months removed from a report that shed new, alarming light on Hope Solo’s domestic-violence case. We are also about three months removed from the last time Solo answered a single question about the matter.
No explanations. No mea culpas. No real acknowledgment of the situation at all. Solo is a fitness buff who pounded the pavement at the Chicago Marathon, but it doesn’t seem as though she runs as well as she hides.
If you need a reminder on the details of Solo’s 2014 arrest, here it is. That June in Kirkland, the star goalkeeper was charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault; one against her half-sister, Teresa Obert, and the other against Obert’s 17-year-old son.
In the police report, Obert describes a drunken Solo calling the teenager “a mama’s boy” who was “fat and unathletic,” and goes on to say that she slugged him in the face, pulled him by the hair and slammed his head into the ground.
Obert added that Solo punched her in the face as well (photos show Obert and her son with fresh wounds shortly after Solo’s arrest), and while Hope contends that her actions were in self-defense, her belligerence toward the police that morning is indisputable.
Solo told one officer that she would kick his ass if not in handcuffs. She told another that her necklace cost more than his annual salary and repeatedly called him worthless.
The case was dismissed on procedural grounds in February, but in a rare move, prosecutors filed an appeal with the Superior Court of Washington and are attempting to resuscitate the charges. It isn’t all that hard to see why.
What is hard to see, however — or at least hard to stomach — is how U.S. Soccer put its fingers in its ears and yelled “la la la.” The organization’s “investigation” into Solo’s case included zero interviews with the alleged victims, prosecutors or police officers involved in the matter.
So Solo played in the World Cup, the United States won the title, and somehow, all seems to have been forgiven. Carli Lloyd’s hat trick? Please. What about Hope Solo’s magic trick?
Solo was the only player from the U.S. National Team who refused interviews in Canada last summer. The Seattle Times has made several requests to speak with her since — including three in the past 10 days — but has been denied by the Reign each time.
When Reign owner Bill Predmore was asked if his organization conducted its own investigation into Solo’s case, he responded: “We do not have any comments to share.” Interpret that how you will.
Let’s back up for a second. This column isn’t meant as a guilt trip to be on laid upon Reign fans throughout the city. If you’re one of the 12,000 planning to be in Portland’s Providence Park, you don’t need to feel contrite.
Whether it’s Kim Little’s scoring, Megan Rapinoe’s passing or Laura Harvey’s coaching, there is plenty about this team to appreciate, admire and, yes, cheer for. But let’s not pull a Solo and completely ignore her past.
We don’t know whether Hope is guilty of domestic violence, but I wonder if the teams she plays for care. We do know that she belittled multiple officers who were simply doing their jobs, yet she hasn’t offered so much as a “my bad.”
Remember when ESPN reporter Britt McHenry was caught proclaiming her superiority to a tow-lot employee last April? She apologized profusely and is still more or less reviled. Solo has said nothing and is more or less revered.
Folks love a good redemption story, but usually only if there’s remorse first. Hope hasn’t demonstrated an ounce of regret or accountability.
So while I would like to get jacked for this game, I just don’t know that I can. Solo defends the goal better than any female on earth — but it’s awfully tough to defend her.