Sally Jenkins offers theories on why U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo lashed out via Twitter at NBC commentator Brandi Chastain. Jenkins first noted that there is no way Solo actually heard what Chastain said on the air, since she was playing in the game. Yet Solo’s attack was predicated on the idea that Chastain had uttered some kind of horrible slur against the United States, and specifically defender Rachel Buehler, during their victory over Colombia on Saturday. In fact, all Chastain said was this:
“Rachel Buehler with the giveaway there. As a defender, your responsibilities are defend, win the ball, and then keep possession, and that’s something Rachel Buehler needs to improve on during this tournament.”
Clearly, Solo was looking to pick a fight with Chastain, and leaped at the most minor excuse. The question is why? It may be about Solo’s irritation at the enduring presence of Chastain, who embodies a constant reminder that the current U.S. squad has yet to live up to the illustrious achievements of the 1999 team, to whom they owe their stardom. It’s a nagging fact that although Solo is better paid and better promoted, she’s not nearly as decorated as her predecessors. She has never won a World Cup, although she possesses a gold medal won in Beijing, Chastain has won two World Cups and two Olympic golds.
(In a Monday press conference, Solo didn't back down or apologize, saying: "It's not about what made me unhappy. It's not about one game. I have my beliefs that the best commentators and the best analysts should be analyzing come Olympics, come World Cups, and it's only my opinion. You can take it or leave it, to be honest, so it's my opinion, and I think analysts and commentators should bring energy and excitement and passion for the game, and a lot of knowledge, and I think it's important to help build the game, and I don't think Brandi has that.")