Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I've looked at clouds

From both sides now.

Thinking back on this whole deal with Hope Solo, it reminds me a little of the difference between English (as a school subject) and math.

In English, a student could write a whole paper on the heroic qualities of the big bad wolf, and with a well-reasoned argument, probably get a good grade. In math, if 2 plus 1 equals anything less or more than three little pigs, the answer is wrong.

The problem with the USWNT is that they tried to make English into math. Now, I've explained before how from the start I took Solo's comments to essentially mean 1) I have confidence in my ability 2) Soccer people know this decision is unprecedented 3) It's 2007, so the logic of deciding anything based on 2004 is bogus.

She didn't actually say it quite that cleanly, but that's the gist that I got out of it. I believe it's a valid interpretation.

However, I think other interpretations could also be valid, including the idea that Solo betrayed the team and didn't criticize only Greg Ryan, but also Briana Scurry. I may disagree with that viewpoint, but it's a big world, and there's room for different perspectives.

A lot of people have run a gamut of opinions on this, including some who feel that she did speak out of turn, but it wasn't that big a deal.

In their united action against Solo, the USWNT hasn't left room for any other possibility other than the one in which Solo is a complete backstabber. There's no benefit of the doubt given as to anything else that her words could have meant, no chance that she was disagreeing with a single decision and the reasons given for it. On an issue where all kinds of people have landed all over the place, the team took punitive measures that were clearly based just on a very negative interpretation of what Solo said.

Otherwise, how could they ever justify what they did - denying someone the right to attend the medal ceremony of an earned honor, for example? The court of public opinion may be divided as to the meaning of the statements Solo made, but the team is not. Solo + talking = banishment.


Anonymous said...

I am totally disgusted by the actions of Coach Ryan, the "Team Leaders" and the US Soccer Association for still not taking action on this issue. Silence is NOT golden.

The Fan response on Saturday night should be very interesting indeed!

Stay strong Hope Solo!

Anonymous said...

I have sent the following message to, to the attention of Mr. Sunil Gulati, President of the US Soccer Federation. If you feel strongly about supporting Ms. Hope Solo, maybe you could do the same?

Message to Mr. Sunil Gulati, President USSF:

"Would you please be so kind to advise the status of the Hope Solo affair?

I was horrified at the treatment Hope received by Coach Ryan & the "Team Leaders" after her public comments and am having a difficult time explaining it all to my daughter who I coach.

Is this how a "Team" who says they are like family treats a member of said family, publicly isolating them?

Shame on Coach Ryan and the so called "Team Leaders". I sure would appreciate some answers.

Unfortunately, these events have taken away from the real problem, that being the decision making and leadership skills of Coach Ryan, or lack thereof. As a soccer coach, I, like many, was completely baffled by his decisions during the World Cup and his total lack of Leadership.

So USSF, please show some badly needed Leadership and advise WNT fans what is being done and how the Team is moving forward for next years Olympics.

Enough time has passed to allow an evaluation of these events.

Charlton Heston said...

I'm of the mind that there is only one interpretation; yours is completely valid A.C. It’s all about giving people the benefit of the doubt. That’s the way anybody else would want to be treated. Words mean things; if words weren’t expressed then reading between the lines serves no one.

It's the presumption of innocence that was not afforded to Ms. Solo. There was an agenda by Ryan, Lilly and Abby to cover their respective clymer and spinning Hope's comments provided cover for it.

Never was there a fair and amicable approach to obtain clarification from Solo after the incident as well as put everything into perspective (e.g. Solo didn't originally plan to field questions). Moreover, the tournament was effectively over after the spanking by Brazil. Seriously, what “team unity” requirement was needed to play against the bench-warmers of Norway?

The perception was to place content between the lines of what Solo said to protect exposing what the USSF has allowed this squad to become: a hostile work environment where players feel they must tow the line, keep their mouth shut and pretend to agree with poor decisions in order to keep their job.

Once again Lilly needs to retire without honors, Abby should now apologize to Hope Solo and Coach Ryan should be terminated of his employment with U.S. Soccer.

And should Sunil Gulati make no efforts to correct the injustice served upon Solo, then Mr. Gulati will be a lame duck president of USSF without honor and favor from the majority of U.S. soccer followers.

JT (Chicago) said...

Joni has some words of hope & glory for Hope:

"There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
Were captive on the carousel of time
We cant return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game"

Anonymous said...


Public opinion is certainly not evenly divided, and day-by-day the large reservoir of support enjoyed by the USWNT is evaporating, (at least) from those who have followed this issue closely.

Hope Solo made a mistake in the timing and wording of her remarks, but her mistake was and is understandable and forgiveable. Her virtual shunning by the team is shameful, and the damage done to the image of the USWNT will be very difficult to repair.

We don't how much of the team's 'unanimity' against Solo has been generated by fear - fear of (reprisals by) coach Ryan and/or senior team members. Still, it is extremely disappointing that not a single team member has stepped forward with (more than token) words of encouragement and support.

We do know that Coach Ryan - whose list of serious mistakes is much too long to catalogue here - must go.

My Opinion Over Yours said...

Wow Charlton Heston, Moses himself, reads this blog!

It'll be nice to see all those young fans who don't care about the off field stuff and will just appreciate the game on the field. Too bad this whole mess keeps us, and rightfully so, from doing the same.

rtt281 said...

I can't reconcile the shunning with the team's past conduct. There must be more. I have a theory: After Hope apologized to the team, the 'leaders' insisted she make a public statement containing some sort of repudiation of her remarks. Hope would surely have refused to do so, things may have gotten ugly, and she was cast out. This, in my mind, would have led to the unanimous decision, because it is inconcievable that the entire team thought the switch was a good idea. Now no one lese can speak out for fear of what might happen to them.
How crazy does that sound?

Anonymous said...


You could've stopped after "English into Math" -- that seems to be a serious epidemic in American soccer.

Coaches in American sports seem to be scared of giving players a little more rope than is absolutely essential.

ghostwriter said...

I agree with AC and prior posters.

Any word, AC, on what ticket sales in St.Louis have been like?

I also think that the Portland appearance may be even more interesting if there's no reasonable resolution (if that's even possible by now) before that....isn't Hope from the great North West, Washington, to be precise?

Alan said...

I guess I'll be the dissenter. I go with whatever the team feels. No one here has a better idea as to what Solo's comments effects were than the team itself. My initial interpretation, before the team's shunning became clear, was that Solo was wrong for saying what she did, even though the coach's decision was a bad one. It appears that the rest of the team feels similarly, and that's good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Well Alan, I sure would hate to be a member of your "Family" if you find this treatment o.k. in your books.

Anybody who condones the treatment of Hope Solo in this case is simply ... WRONG!

3 wrongs do NOT a right maketh! Shakespeare? :)

ghostwriter said...


I, too, have felt there were planets moving here that we've not seen. But your suggestion for what orbit they occupied does not seem to square with other "known" facts: all statements from the "team" have been that, leaving aside the intial mySpace post, Hope simply oppologized to the team in general and Scurry specifically and both Foudy and Mitts said before the blackout came down that they had both spoken directly to Hope and that she was very regretful and ashamed about the way her on camera statement had come out. Nothing that's been reported by anybody has indicated that Hope was defiant about anything concerning the comments seemingly directed at Scurry. Also, if she'd have refused to co-operate like that, surely Lilly and Wambaugh, who continue to bury her in their public statements, would have said or at least hinted something else happened.

No, I don't think this has to do with Hope being defiant. What it has to do with, on it's face, is just plain cruelty.

There have been rumours, published elsewhere (that I will not repeat here), suggesting other possible orbits for these unseen planets that, except for the fact they would explain much, I would ordinarilly dismiss out of hand.

It would at least be nice to have some information from the Federation about what's going on now behind the scenes (people being interviewed and some process or another of review having been commenced) and who might be expected to be on the US roster for this up coming Mexico series, and who might be coaching them.

I think that if they believe that everything will go away if they just keep everybody quiet about it, they are mistaken. This HAS to have caused a rift on the team of some extent, these women simply can't BE that monolithically one dimensional. Sooner or later it's going to boil over.

Anonymous said...

Nothing against you personally, Alan, but since you are so comfortable with the team shunning a teammate, I'm sure you'll be comfortable with the decision of many fans to stop supporting the team. Some of us still feel that any punishment should be fairly in proportion to the 'crime.'

In Ryan's case, justice delayed is justice denied - he should be long gone by now.

Tara C. said...

I agree with everything that you said, Andrea. It seems as though a lot of others do too - it doesn't seem as though USSF has been able to get anybody to televise any of the "Victory (3rd Place) Matches" vs. Mexico. Their website doesn't list any information regarding televising those matches. Previously the information was listed as "TBA", but has since been stricken from the website.

What really gets me about the whole situation is that Wambach and Lilly were supposedly so upset about Solo throwing Scurry under the bus and speaking publicly, yet they haven't been able to shut their traps since the situation, Wambach in particular. Even if the entire team did unanimously agree to suspend/bench/banish Solo because she had committed something so egregious, Solo apologized both privately and publicly to the team and Scurry. Accept her apology already, and get on with it. Enough with this "Maybe one day I'll thank her", "I hope she can learn from this", "I'd like to think I'd forgive her" crap.

rtt281 said...


That was just a theory of mine, based purely on my personal interpretation of the facts. You're right, there hasn't been anything public pointing to Hope's defiance, but as you say, there has to be something more to this then what we know. I'm just trying to make sense of the overly harsh punishment she received.

JT (Chicago) said...

tara c, great catch about that TBA being removed from the US Soccer website.

No television coverage!Could it be that US Soccer didn't want the program embarrassed by the huge number of empty seats (or worse, an organized protest by those few in attendance)? Or, could it be that ESPN just declined to show this "Victory Tour"?

Either way, what a comedown from a few weeks earlier. Speaking of which, that "Greatest Team ..." picture is still on the US Soccer website - you know, the one with Solo and Wambach standing shoulder to shoulder.

Anonymous said...

love the headline makes me want to listen to some joni mitchell. you have quite an eclectic taste in music judging from your vast assortment of headlines and sublines for your articles.

Anonymous said...

jt, do you mean the one of Hope & Wambach "hugging"?

Such a sweet pic that one is, you can see the knife being inserted in back, or is it just my imagination?