Ray Rice deserved to get waived, while the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, the Panthers’ Greg Hardy and the Cardinals’ Jonathan Dwyer were rightfully prohibited by their teams from taking the field because of the pain they caused off of it.
These guys are powerful men who made their living by thriving in the violent world of the NFL, where the strong pound the weak, which is what these men did or allegedly did to someone they supposedly love.
But I found an athlete who apparently is more powerful than any of them.
Her name is Hope Solo.
Solo’s the starting goalie for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and she’s awesome – so amazing she recorded her U.S. record 73rd shutout with a 4-0 win over Mexico on Sept. 18.
You know what’s most impressive about the accomplishment? She played the past two record-setting matches while waiting to be tried in November after pleading not guilty to two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence stemming from an alleged attack on her sister and 17-year-old nephew in Kirkland, Wash, in June.
So let’s get this straight.
Male football players charged with domestic violence are pariahs, with teams, sponsors and endorsement companies separating themselves from the accused and the teams they represent faster than you can say the word “domestic violence.”
But a woman allegedly kicks smacks two people, gets charged, arrested, released from jail and is heading to trial and …she gets to represent our country?
You may be thinking it, I know I am, so I’ll write it: Does that mean if Rice, Peterson, Hardy and Dwyer were women they’d be suiting up this week?
Take a minute and read that sentence again and think about it. Rice, Peterson, Hardy and Dwyer are all professional athletes charged – or in Hardy’s case convicted – of assaulting someone. Solo is a professional athlete charged with hitting a woman and a teenager.
She’s playing; they’re not.
What does it say about society? I thought men and women are supposed to be created equally. Where’s the public uproar about Solo getting to play? She represents the biggest team of all: the United States of America.
Let’s look at the facts:
- Rice was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL earlier this month after a video showed him knocking out his then-fiancee unconscious at an Atlantic City casino in February. He’s appealing his suspension, which initially was two games. Rice entered a pretrial intervention program to avoid being prosecuted for felony aggravated assault, a charge that will be dismissed upon completing the program. The National Football League Players Association is appealing his suspension.
- Peterson was placed on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list – meaning he’ll get paid and not play – after he was indicted on a felony charge of injury to a child in Texas, where he’s accused of using a wooden switch to spank his 4-year-old son. He’s also accused of beating another one of his sons in 2013.
- Hardy is on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list as he appeals his misdemeanor assault conviction stemming from an attack on his ex-girlfriend in March. He appealed for a jury trial, which is scheduled for Nov. 17.
- Jonathan Dwyer was placed on the reserve-non football injury list on Sept. 18, effectively ending his season a day after he was arrested on felony and misdemeanor assault charges. Dwyer is facing on one count of aggravated assault causing a fracture, one count of aggravated assault involving a minor, two counts of criminal damage, one count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency and assault. He’s accused of breaking his girlfriend’s nose by head-butting her. The only way Dwyer returns to the Cardinals is “if and when he’s exonerated,” coach Bruce Arians said.
- Solo remains the starting goalie for the United States after pleading not guilty to two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence in an alleged attack on her sister and teenage nephew in June. Police said a family member called 911, claiming Solo was “going crazy and hitting people.”
I don’t know what’s worse: Solo not removing herself from the lineup or U.S. Soccer’s rationale for letting her remain in it.
“We are aware that Hope is handling a personal situation at the moment,” Neil Buethe, U.S. Soccer director of communications, wrote in an email to USA Today. “At the same time, she has an opportunity to set a significant record that speaks to her hard work and dedication over the years with the National Team. While considering all factors involved, we believe that we should recognize that in the proper way.”
My translation: “We know that Hope is charged with beating up two people, but we want her to get the record.”
Congratulations U.S. Soccer: You made Roger Goodell look good at handling domestic abuse cases, as San Francisco 49er Ray McDonald continues to play after being arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence on Aug. 31. He hasn’t been charged.
I watched part of the U.S.-Mexico match on Sept. 18, but I turned it off at the end of the first half because this wasn’t a soccer game, it was a double standard. I saw Nike advertisements at the game after the company suspended its endorsement with Peterson, who like Solo, hasn’t been convicted.
Here’s what Solo wrote on her Facebook page after being released from jail: “I understand that, as a public figure, I am held to a higher standard of conduct. I take seriously my responsibilities as a role model and sincerely apologize to everyone I have disappointed.”
Higher standard of conduct?
She’s been held to no standard, which says as much about Solo as it does about us.
Jon Gallo is an award-winning journalist and editor with 19 years of experience, including stints as a staff writer at The Washington Post and sports editor at The Baltimore Examiner. He also believes the government should declare federal holidays in honor of the following: the Round of 64 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament; the Friday of the Sweet 16; the Monday after the Super Bowl; and of course, the day after the release of the latest Madden NFL video game.