I recall here that in 2010, there was not one meaningful story published in US or UK-based sports news about the fact that the head coach of the South African women’s football team was sexually abusing players — that this was happening through the men’s World Cup, almost certainly with the knowledge of people at the South African Football Association. It’s hard to believe that FIFA administrators were ignorant of this. And I’d frankly be surprised if that was the only national women’s team that was poisoned by this level of sexual harassment. In 2009, the biggest story in women’s sports was a series of ludicrous fouls conducted within a regional, amateur women’s soccer game that happened to be recorded and broadcast (that in and of itself is a rarity). Everyone reported that incident like it was news.
There are months when it seems that women only appear in the sports pages if they win a world championship or file a rape accusation. So I guess we should be glad Solo’s personal life is so awful, so explosive. Were it not, the US’s win over Mexico and Solo’s shut-out record wouldn’t have appeared in the news as the footnote it is to the story “no one is talking about.”
All of this is to assert that the media’s relationship to women is itself violent. And as long as the day-in-day out struggle of women athletes—to win games, to set world records, to win appropriate support for their sport—remains the story that “no one” is actually talking about, no one gets to indulge the fantasy that a woman athlete’s domestic assault charge is “the same” as that faced by a multi-million dollar male athlete playing for a billion dollar business run by and for men.
So many injustices in women’s sports, and it gets overlooked.
Low pay, unhealthy playing grounds, discrimination from federations. Where was all this media when the women were using their voice to fight for equality?
One injustice on the men’s side and all hell let loose.
You want Hope Solo to be treated like those male players? How about you treat her like one. How do you expect her to be treated equally off the field when you can’t even treat her equally on the field?
There is so much we can say about Hope Solo and in all honesty, most of them would probably be deserved.
But the one thing that should matter is this: SHE IS THE BEST GOALKEEPER THIS TEAM HAS EVER HAD IN OUR HISTORY. And arguably the best in the world. That alone, that above everything and despite everything, deserves nothing but RESPECT.
She deserves the record. She’s earned the record. Blood, sweat, tears and controversies are all worth it. Much respect, Hope. And congratulations!