Post-Ray Rice: Why no Outrage over Hope Solo’s Domestic Abuse Charges?

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Detroit LionsLet me being and say, what Ray Rice did was inexcusable and flat-out wrong. However, some of the outrage has led many to believe, like myself, that as long as people don’t get caught on video of beating their significant other then they’re okay in the court of public opinion. But that’s a completely different discussion.

I’m upset about how everyone was mad at Roger Goodell and Ray Rice, even at the victim Janay Rice, but not at Hope Solo. No widespread cries for justice enveloped the case of star U.S. Women’s soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, who was charged with beating up her teenage nephew and her half-sister!

hope solo arrestedHere’s the breakdown:

On June 22nd, Hope Solo was arrested by Kirkland, Washington police for hitting her half-sister and 17-year-old nephew, as USA Today reported. They also reported she was charged with two counts of domestic violence-assault. The article went on to say:

Officers were called to Solo’s home in Kirkland just before 1 a.m. PT Saturday because of an assault and noise disturbance. A male caller stated that a female was “hitting people.”

When officers arrived at the home, which Solo shares with husband and former NFL player Jerramy Stevens, Solo appeared intoxicated, and officers noticed “visible injuries” to her sister and 17-year old nephew, according to the statement. After interviewing witnesses who were present, officers determined Solo instigated the assault and was the “primary aggressor.”

“There was a big party going on at her house. It was an out-of-control situation,” Kirkland police Lt. Mike Murray told The Seattle Times.

And, her employer, the Seattle Reign FC said, “”We are aware of the situation regarding Hope Solo and are currently gathering information.” U.S. Soccer’s statement was, “We are aware of the situation. At this point, we do not have any further comments.”

How did it go down? Just sickening. NESN reported:

“Statements given to police by the USA soccer goalkeeper’s 17-year-old nephew reveal that Solo arrived at her half-sister’s house upset that her husband, former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, had refused to take her to the airport for a flight.

Solo was inebriated and became even more upset when she thought her nephew had insulted her. Things calmed down for a bit until her nephew’s interest in acting was mentioned. The nephew said you need to have an “athletic state of mind” to be an actor, to which Solo responded he was “too fat and overweight and crazy to ever be an athlete,” according to the police report. Solo’s nephew called her an expletive, and the argument escalated from there. Solo ended up charging and punching her nephew, according to the police report, and her half-sister eventually became involved.

The report states that Solo’s nephew broke a broom over her head to attempt to prevent her from assaulting his mother, and when that didn’t work, he pointed a broken BB gun at her and told her to leave. When police arrived, Solo’s nephew was bleeding from one ear, and his nose and jaw were red. Solo’s half-sister had a swollen left cheek. No injuries were reported on Solo.”

Domestic violence is not new to Solo, apparently. Her husband, Jerramy Stevens, was arrested and charged for domestic assault. They apparently argued over whether they should live in Florida or Washington, the latter is where Solo plays professionally, and it led to a fight. He was arrested, but Solo dropped the charges against Stevens and they got married soon after. This isn’t a good situation to be in.

But she beat the crap out of her nephew, a teenager, and her half-sister had a swollen cheek. The nephew had to break a broom over Solo’s head to get her to stop. Yes, she was drunk, but still it’s not a good excuse to go and beat people up. But what did she say? Solo claimed she was a victim and pleaded not guilty, as the Seattle Times reported.

I don’t remember Hope Solo’s case dominating headlines like the Ray Rice case, probably because there was video of Ray Rice beating his then-fiance-and-now-wife Janay unconscious. If there was video of Solo, would she be fired (as Ray Rice was by the Baltimore Ravens) and criticized by almost everyone? I don’t know.

Is Solo the heroine that parents want their young girls to model themselves after? I would hope not. USA Today writer Christine Brennan wrote a scathing piece on why U.S. Soccer should not promote Solo leading up to the 2015 World Cup while these charges are still hanging over Solo’s head.

What did U.S. Soccer say in response to promoting Hope Solo in their ads and e-mails?

“We are aware that Hope is handling a personal situation at the moment…

“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.”

Brennan concludes:

“So what kind of message does this send to the millions of girls and women the U.S. national team has empowered and inspired over the past couple of decades? That alleged domestic violence is somehow different and less alarming when the alleged abuser is a woman?

It’s awful for any organization to be implying such a thing in the 21st century. That it’s coming from U.S. Soccer makes it all the more disappointing. This is a governing body that definitely knows better.”

Is it because we think that it’s the man’s fault that domestic violence happens? Most likely, men are the primary instigators of such terrible acts of violence. Statistics don’t lie about that. But what if a woman is the perpetrator? The media remains silent and the public is fine with it. Why are we okay with condemning men while letting women off the hook for equally terrible acts?

Remember Solange Knowles, Beyonce’s sister, beating up Jay-Z in an elevator? That was joked about for a week or so. Why was it even funny?

The Daily Beast wrote a great piece on why does society laugh and make jokes when women beat up people, but are horrified when men do it? One of the sources of the piece, Katie Ray-Jones, president of the National Domestic Hotline, said:

“There is stigma surrounding male victims.  I have worked with male victims before who have indicated that their friends and family did not believe them or that their co-workers laughed when they shared that their wife had hit them…

Domestic violence remains a complex issue, and we still have a lot of education to do.”

Dr. Jeff Gardere, who was also quoted in the article, noted:

“…the idea of gender equality continues to gain ground, more are starting to appreciate the idea that women can in fact be perpetrators of abuse, just as much as men, something that for so long has been treated as a laughable concept.”

I just don’t want the victim to be ignored because the perpetrator happens to be the star goalkeeper of the U.S. women’s soccer team and isn’t videotaped like Ray Rice was. Abuse is abuse. Violence is violence. Let’s not let the media set the tone or the issues. The victims are numerous and perpetrators are out there, both man and woman. Let’s treat all abuse equally and with punishment under law.


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About Spencer Irvine

Fun loving, D.C. area sports fan, which means I'm frustrated and still can't get a grip on what a win truly means (or a championship for that matter).

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