The Serious Case of Hope Solo

Anyone who saw the USA’s 3-1 win against Australia at the Women’s World Cup on Monday saw the qualities that Hope Solo brings to Jill Ellis’ team. In a poor first half for the U.S. women, the 33-year-old goalkeeper made three world-class saves to deny the punchy Aussies in a game that might have turned out very differently had it not been for her. 

By many accounts, Solo is the best female goalkeeper in the world, which makes her one of if not the most recognizable players in the USA squad alongside Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan. Her quality and her confidence in her abilities have never been an issue. Her off-field behavior, on the other hand, is a different story.

By now, just about anyone who is familiar with the U.S. women knows that Solo has been involved in a domestic violence lawsuit. About a year ago, Solo was arrested following a dispute that turned violent at the house of her half-sister, Teresa Obert. While Solo alleges that she was the victim of violence on the part of her 17-year-old nephew, Obert’s son whose name has not been disclosed, Obert and her son tell a very different story.

In February, Solo appeared on the TV show “Good Morning America” to tell her version of what happened. Earlier this week, ESPN’s Outside The Lines, in a lengthy description of the events, attempts to tell the story from Obert and her son’s point of view, while also adding in the details captured from the police report.

To be sure, it sounds really bad. Even if Solo was not, as she claims, the aggressor in the situation, she was certainly involved in what amounts to a family tragedy and worse, a crime.

Of course, both Obert and her son say that Solo is lying. In the report, they claim that she was drunk and belligerent, delivering blows to the head of both her half-sister and nephew.

Due to “procedural grounds,” Solo’s case was thrown out earlier this year by Judge Michael Lambo in Kirkland, Washington, Municipal Court. But, in a rare move that required higher approval, the prosecutors appealed to the Superior Court of Washington, which will now hear the case in September after the prosecution files its argument next month and the defense responds a month later.

Meanwhile, following the publication of Obert’s side of the story by ESPN this week, pundits across the country are up in arms about the (non) role that U.S. Soccer has played in all of this.

In January, before the case was thrown out, the USSF suspended Solo for 30 days. The Seattle Reign, her club team, forced her to sit out one game following her arrest.

Given the harsh allegations directed at Solo, why did the USA No. 1 only get what amounts to a slap on the wrist?

ESPN pundit Keith Olbermann, for one, claims that if Solo was a player in the National Football League, she would have already been suspended by the league until further notice. Instead, she suited up for her country on Monday night and played a pivotal role in securing three points. Not only that, Olbermann says that USSF President Sunil Gulati and USA coach Jill Ellis should all be fired for letting her continue to play. 

To be sure, the claims that Obert and her son are both making about Solo are serious -- in fact, they’re almost scary. But, as the ESPN report points out, the Kirkland Municipal court threw out the case partially because Obert and her son were uncooperative.

Now, Off The Post is certainly not a lawyer, but after reading the lengthy ESPN report, it sounds as though this whole case has a big credibility problem. Is Solo lying or are her relatives lying? Given that everyone is pointing fingers at each other and there are no other witnesses other than police reports describing some drunken verbal abuse on the part of Solo, it’s a tough question, but it’s also one for the courts to sort out, not U.S. Soccer. OTP would argue that given the overall lack of clarity here, U.S. Soccer has not necessarily acted irresponsibly in suspending its judgment on the case.

Sure, Solo is an extremely valuable member of the U.S. women’s team, but she’s not so valuable that the USSF needs to keep her at any cost. As horrible as the things described by her family members are, she is, after all, innocent until proven guilty. 

21 comments about "The Serious Case of Hope Solo ".
  1. Winston Stewart, June 10, 2015 at 7:04 p.m.

    Innocent until proven guilty, does not mean the person should be allowed to do whatever they like either. Everything should be put on hold as well, which means Solo should have been suspended from the team, that is , enjoined with the suspension of her guiltiness, until the outcome of the case is determined in court.

  2. John M Cote, June 10, 2015 at 7:10 p.m.

    "As horrible as the things described by her family members are, she is, after all, innocent until proven guilty."

    Indeed. This story, and Soccer America's reporting, have zero relevance at this time. Let the WNT compete and let the situation sort itself out.

    Sorry, Off the Post, there is nothing "serious" at this stage, as your headline suggests (but that your concluding sentence seems to contradict) other than speculation/sensationalism/knowing the story will run because of the WWC.

  3. John Mcdermott, June 10, 2015 at 7:16 p.m.

    Not much different from the position of the England F.A. when John Terry was accused of racially abusing a black player. Some said they should have banned him straight away. Others, including the England coach, maintained that until he was convicted of a crime they had no right to punish him. And so it is with Solo, no matter how unpleasant she might be or how likely it is that her version of events is not truthful. Olbermann is an opportunistic blowhard.

  4. J Sagett, June 10, 2015 at 7:19 p.m.

    If this was the keeper for the USMNT, he wouldn't be allowed within 10 miles of the pitch.

  5. Eric Schmitt, June 10, 2015 at 7:33 p.m.

    First, the case was thrown out because the accusers kept changing their story. They changed it over and over again; not the sign of folks who are confident in the story they are putting forward, while Solo's story has remained consistent. Second, the young man she is accused of abusing is 6'8" 270. Hope Solo is 5'9" 150. If abuse took place, who is likely to have abused who? There is simply no evidence other than the word of the accusers to show that any actual "abuse" took place. Third, the suspension she received was for the US Soccer van incident, not the abuse case. Solo has issues, but so do a lot of people. People need to keep everything in perspective here, and not be distracted by emotional appeals. US Soccer should have facts or at least clear evidence to suspend Solo. They have neither, so they are not suspending her. US Soccer has done the *exact right* thing by letting the legal situation sort itself out, in the absence of clear evidence against Solo.

  6. John M Cote, June 10, 2015 at 7:45 p.m.

    Well said Eric.

    John McDermott: "Olbermann is an opportunistic blowhard". In this instance, definitely. In many times in the past, no. His comments have usually been very thoughtful, but no one bats 1000, to use a metaphor from his favorite sport.

  7. Ric Fonseca, June 10, 2015 at 7:53 p.m.

    Thanks Eric S and Jon M. Indeed Solo was suspended due to her husband's indiscretions, and as for Olbermann, he's very "outspoken" but just how many times has he been fired, and yes even suspended from his shows? How about if Olbermann puts these things into perspective? And Hope solo, well, let's wish her the best WC!

  8. R v Mcgrath, June 10, 2015 at 7:55 p.m.

    I agree with Eric; if Hope Solo's accusers won't step up and swear to their allegations, and keep changing their stories, theyv'e nothing to bitch about. As for Keith Olbermann, nuff said.

  9. John Soares, June 10, 2015 at 9:14 p.m.

    Sad that it keeps coming up. It was dubious from the start. Not that Solo is an angel... but it has been blown out of proportion and now, repeatedly so.

  10. Santiago 1314, June 10, 2015 at 9:43 p.m.

    I REPEAT !!!.. Santiago 1314 commented on: June 9, 2015 at 10:17 a.m.The only distraction that Hope causes is when Stupid Coaches Bench her, for No Reason (Greg Ryan???)... This is AMERICA!!!... Innocent until proven Guilty..And actually a Judge has DISMISSED the Case...I will tell you this, every article about Hope Taking Down her 6-8, 270lb, 17 year Old MALE Nephew, Must just scare the Hell out of the Opposition...She's Nucking Futs!!!... Just how I Mike my Goalkeepers... "Stay Outta My House".../// What is so difficult about, INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY???

  11. Santiago 1314, June 10, 2015 at 9:56 p.m.

    Oh and Ross, you mean that Lovely half-sister that finds a "Drunk" Hope Solo outside her house at 10:00pm, invites her In and then gives her more Booze...for 3 hours... Police Report says the fight started around 1:00am...What kind of a 43 year old Sister lets her 17 year old son, sit in on an adult Drinking session between sisters??? What a Set Up job!!! Quit being so Judgemental and Sanctimonious...CASE DISMISSED BY A JUDGE!!!...Follow the Law and try not to let your own Personal bias and Peer pressure overcome Reality

  12. ray twohig, June 10, 2015 at 11:31 p.m.

    The case was dismissed against Hope Solo, is on appeal by the prosecution. The half sister's motivation is evident for the timing of this old story, coming as it did on the very eve of the Women's World Cup, with sensationalism even beyond prior stories. Those who wave the flag of outrage now are either easily upset by old warmed over and repackaged news, or have the same motivations.

  13. Thomas Hosier, June 11, 2015 at 12:51 a.m.

    Gotta go with Santiago below but ... the sensationalistic journalistic "bomb dropping" just before the opening game is not but GARBAGE .... Hope's 1/2 sister her 6'8" 270 pound pussy son had their chance in court and blew .... they can piss off!

    "Santiago 1314
    commented on: June 10, 2015 at 9:43 p.m.
    I REPEAT !!!.. Santiago 1314 commented on: June 9, 2015 at 10:17 a.m.The only distraction that Hope causes is when Stupid Coaches Bench her, for No Reason (Greg Ryan???)... This is AMERICA!!!... Innocent until proven Guilty..And actually a Judge has DISMISSED the Case...I will tell you this, every article about Hope Taking Down her 6-8, 270lb, 17 year Old MALE Nephew, Must just scare the Hell out of the Opposition...She's Nucking Futs!!!... Just how I Mike my Goalkeepers... "Stay Outta My House".../// What is so difficult about, INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY???"

  14. Margaret Manning, June 11, 2015 at 3:26 a.m.

    None of this is new or news.
    The timing is exploitative.
    The charges were dismissed because the "family" members refused to be deposed.
    All the faux outrage is classic media hype.

  15. Kevin Leahy, June 11, 2015 at 6:50 a.m.

    Keith Olberman & Dan Patrick have been long time soccer haters.

  16. Joel Kraft, June 11, 2015 at 9:35 a.m.

    Complete horse$%#* that you people should bring this old story up again now. Shame on you people, ie Ross Fadner.

  17. Derek Mccracken, June 11, 2015 at 9:48 a.m.

    For those that agree with U.S.'s "Innocent until proven guilty" principle but, on the other hand, state that Solo should be suspended from the WC until the case comes to court, they are not really thinking this through.

    If Solo is suspended, that in itself is a punitive action and does NOT follow the presumption of innocence maxim which is a legal right in our country. Why should she be punished before the courts have rendered a decision?

    The case came to court months ago, her accusers did not show, and now they've attempted to revive the case? The burden of proof is on her sister and nephew. By not showing, that spoke loudly on this case. Should Solo pay for their mistake of allowing this case to continue to drag on?

    Since both sides are finger-pointing at each other, and since guilt beyond a reasonable doubt will probably never be established (unless a TMZ video mysteriously appears), this case will probably die in court.

    I say, if one truly believes in our U.S. court's presumption of innocence tenet, then they'd be in favor of letting her play until the courts have had their say. One CANNOT be on both sides of the fence on this one - Two-faced.

  18. David Hardt, June 11, 2015 at 11:47 a.m.

    Come on people. It is US sports. If she gets suspended it will be after the world cup when it does not matter. Delay appeal delay appeal and then sit after the important games are over

  19. Ramon Creager, June 11, 2015 at 12:07 p.m.

    I don't really have an issue with US Soccer. This is something that has to play out in the courts. But I do wish US Soccer had told her to STFU about this. Those complaining about "why now" and how it is complete "horse$%#*" should ask themselves why Solo felt the need to go on Good Morning America and essentially blacken her relative's names. By doing so she invited scrutiny into her shaky story, and such scrutiny is fully justified. She publicly accused her nephew of assault. But worse to me is that I think the OTL story has the more plausible version of what happened that night, particularly as police reports of their own experience with her after the event is consistent with the story told the Oberts of what happened to them in their own home at the hands of an uninvited guest. I find it difficult to derive any joy from watching her play.

  20. Santiago 1314, June 11, 2015 at 5:40 p.m.

    @RAMON,.. Get your facts straight...Read the Police Report. .. Hope was sitting outside the Sisters house at 10:00pm... Already Drinking, with a Bottle of wine in hand... Sister invited her IN, AGAINST the advice of the 17 year old 6'8" 280lb MALE Nephew... Sister then proceeded to give her more Booze, instead of Coffee and calling a cab...3 hours later is when the altercation took place...**I reiterate.**.. What Mother let's her 17 year old Son, sit in on an ADULT Situation between Sisters.???...OBERTS refused to be questioned under Oath and REFUSED the Judges Order to give their statement...THAT IS WHY THE JUDGE DISMISSED THE CASE...Because they are the ones with the Shakey Story...

  21. John M Cote, June 11, 2015 at 6:21 p.m.

    Joel Kraft +1 - " Shame on you people, ie Ross Fadner." Indeed....

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