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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.

#WorldCup2014: How Germany Destroyed Brazil 7-1: San Antonio Spurs-type Offense

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Now that the dust has settled from the 7-1 blitzkrieg of Brazil’s famed Selecao (with 5 goals in 30 minutes of the first half), Germany has no one to thank but themselves. Each goal was due to selfless team offense of passing the ball, being aggressive up the pitch and creating turnovers, in addition to crashing the penalty box to score goals. It reminds me of the San Antonio Spurs’ clinical demolition of the superstar-laden Miami Heat in this year’s NBA Finals, with passing and unselfish team offense leading the way.

Goal 1: Thomas Muller

Where do I start? A perfectly-executed corner kick by Kroos to get Muller an easy shot in the penalty box. Muller starts in the middle of a mass of players (circle and arrow points to him), and immediately rushes to the penalty box with his defender trailing him the entire time.

muller goal corner kick approach

Kroos lines it up and sends it deep enough for Muller to have a chance to kick it. Muller moves up, then cuts to the area (red circle) where Kroos’ ball will probably land and loses his defender in the mass of players.

muller goal corner kick

Next, Muller lost his defender in traffic (first arrow from the right) and forced David Luis (second arrow from the right) to leave his assignment to try to block Muller, but it was too late. Muller gets to his spot (red circle area) and shoots a relatively open shot on goal.

muller shot on goal

Goal 2: Miroslav Klose

Jokes about him being “the Kloser” abounds, but he finishes the best within 8 yards of the goal. Now, he has 16 goals to lead all World Cup scorers and passed Brazil’s Ronaldo. His goal came off of a turnover in Brazil’s defensive half, where Kroos salvaged a poor pass and saw Muller racing across the front of the goal.

klose goal turnover

One pinpoint pass later, the defenders and goalkeeper Julio Cesar crash on Muller, but Muller drops the pass to the feet of Klose.

klose goal shot on goal

Klose shoots, Cesar makes the first save but leaves a juicy rebound for Klose to finish. 2-0 Germany. Congrats on your 16th goal, Klose!

klose goal celebration

Goal 3: Toni Kroos

It all started with passing and precision. Mesut Ozil, without any pressure on the ball from Brazil’s midfield defense, saw Philip Lahm on the right flank with some room to run, and sent him a ball that would allow him to run up to it and send it in. There was no communication on the Brazilian backline to give Lahm, who has a propensity for crosses into the box, some trouble.

kroos goal ozil pass

With Brazil’s defenders on their heels, Lahm saw a lot of space with Muller running to the top of the box, Kroos on the left flank and Klose in the penalty box area. So he sent a cross to Muller.

kroos goal ozil to lahm

Muller missed the cross, either on purpose or not no one knows or cares, and with no Brazilian defenders able to deflect the ball or get possession, it fell to Kroos’ feet.

kroos goal lahm cross to muller

With a David Luis in the penalty area, and no defender within a couple feet of him, Kroos had the green light to shoot and he sent it into the back of the net with a slight deflection from goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

kroos goal shot on goal

Goals 4-7: Quick passes and open players for goals

Kroos scored two minutes later for his second goal of the day, Sami Khedira scored three minutes after that, then Chelsea regular and striker Andres Schurrle scored twice in the 69th and 79th minutes (and the latter against his fellow Chelsea teammate David Luis). What did they have in common? Crisp, precise passes to get the better shot.

Kroos: He steals a pass in the Brazilian half from Fernandinho and immediately runs for the goal.

kroos second goal steal

Kroos passes it to Khedira, who gives it back to him when the defender and Julio Cesar commit to him, leaving Kroos with an open goal.

kroos second goal khedira pass

Look at Khedira’s goal: Three German players in the 20 yard box, which was made possible by a pass from the German back line to Khedira, who then passed it to Ozil. Ozil, on the left side, saw Julio Cesar commit to him, so he stopped and gave it back to Khedira, who had more space and room with defenders collapsing on Ozil. Just look at that space, with no defender within six feet of him. Goal, Germany.

khedira goal shot on goal

Schurrle’s first one was a defensive breakdown (again), where Lahm (again) received a pass from the right wing into the 20 yard box on the right side. Cesar commits to him (red circle), but Lahm picks out Schurrle (red arrow going toward the goalie) in the box and sends a pass to Schurrle who just had to put a foot on it. Schurrle was unmarked, with even another German player right behind Schurrle without a defender on either of them.

schurrle goal 1 lahm to schurrle

Schurrle’s second was a nifty pass in the air, from the left wing, where he raced across the left side of the goal, tipped it to himself and the unleashed a scorcher into the back of the Brazilian net. Schurrle was unmarked (in the red circle), with club teammate David Luis of Brazil trailing him and no one stepping up to defend except for Cesar.

shurrle goal 2 pass

In the end, unremarkable and lax defending by Brazil, who was missing their captain Tiago Silva due to two yellow cards and having to sit out this match. And, they were on the unceremonious end of a 7-1 drubbing at home.

Next up: Germany versus the winner of Argentina-the Netherlands.

Best Headlines from Germany-Brazil World Cup Blowout

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Cue all the jokes, that Germany blitzed Brazil 7-1 today and blasted their famous Selecao away, but it was a throttling victory for the Germans. Some of my favorite headlines are “BAVARIAN CREAM” and “HOLY SCHNITZEL”, but here are some of the funniest ones via Darren Rovell of ESPN:

rovell world cup headline 1

rovell world cup headlines 2

 

What were some of your favorite headlines? Let me know in the comments section! Do you have any funny or good ones to add?

Global Sports: What Made the Cut, What Didn’t

cristiano messiAmerica is the focal point, we like to think, of the best professional sports in the world. We have the land, money and culture to back major professional franchises, for the most part (just don’t ask Atlanta losing the NHL Thrashers or Los Angeles with the Raiders AND Rams).

This got us thinking, what sports are making waves off of American shores? Well, what do we know?

  • American football is American football, and won’t be an international sport. Why? It’s a cultural thing, but you need the facilities and money to get equipment and time on the field. But, English people were intrigued when the NFL held games in London at Old Trafford (the home of the English soccer club Manchester United).
  • The NBA is making a concerted effort to expand its brand abroad and is banking on the success of national teams and especially the Euroleague. NBA has the most potential among the major American sports, especially with an Indian owner in Sacramento.
  • Baseball is mostly a Western Hemisphere phenomena, with an influx of Caribbean, Venezuelan or Latin American players populating the American-based Major League Baseball. Oh, Japan and South Korea have some good players in the majors, too.
  • Hockey is a big deal in Russia and Canada, with some die-hard fan bases in the U.S. in cities like Pittsburgh, Boston, Buffalo and Detroit.

But, soccer is the international sport because it is easy to get a field, dirt or not, and a ball with some goal markers. Most sports are tougher to get equipment and playing time on specific fields. Soccer is growing in popularity in the U.S. with the growth of the American Major League Soccer (MLS), with expansion teams Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact and now Orlando City FC. Attendance has increased 15% in the US from 2011-2012 but dipped slightly this past season.

Other sports are making inroads, but overall, soccer is the international sport. The attention put toward the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the European leagues like La Liga in Spain, Barclays Premier League in the United Kingdom, Italy’s Serie A and Bundesliga in Germany shows that soccer is here to stay.

And we have Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to thank for that.

Lionel Messi: Out of Commission, but what will Fans do?

Well, not breaking news: Lionel Messi, affectionately known by fans and supporters as “Messi”, is now injured and won’t play for a couple of months.

messi sadHe injured and strained his right hamstring and will be out between 6-8 weeks (per the British newspaper The Guardian). Some analysts said that all his charity matches, international friendlies and club schedule just wore him down. He is still a young and spry 26 years old, so this was a smart decision to rest up.

Messi is sponsored by Adidas, has commercials and billboards across the world and is a four-time consecutive winner of the world’s best footballer award, the Golden Boot (or in French, “Ballon d’Oro”). He scored 46 goals for Spanish La Liga club FC Barcelona last year (and 50 the year before that) and has 35 international goals for Argentina.

What will soccer/football fans do without Messi playing friendlies for his native Argentina or his club FC Barcelona? Maybe watch highlights like these:

Or his commercials, which are fantastic: