OPINION: Hope Solo continues to embarrass the United States

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Daniel Smith, Asst. Opinion Editor

American goalie Hope Solo has had a rough time off the field since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Solo and the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) fell to Sweden 4-3 on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the Olympic soccer tournament.

According to Graham Hays of ESPN, Solo was not pleased with the loss.

“We played a bunch of cowards,” Solo said. “The best team did not win today. I strongly, firmly believe that.”

Solo’s comments were harsh and out of line. Criticizing her opponents was not going to change the fact that the United States lost.

Her criticisms actually caused more trouble for her.

U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said the organization suspended Solo for six months following her comments.

“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,” said Galati.

According to Gulati, the U.S. Soccer Federation also took past incidents into consideration while determining Solo’s punishment.

In an interview for the documentary “Keeping Score,” Solo said that her suspension is not a result of her comments about Sweden, but because she is fighting for equal pay and playing conditions for female soccer players.

“They’re going to use my comments as an excuse to get rid of me forever so that they don’t have to deal with such a strong voice and opposition to field conditions and playing conditions and pay,” Solo said.

In addition to Solo, four other players filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation for underpaying the USWNT. None of the other players have been suspended.

Solo has been an advocate for equal pay and better treatment of female soccer players, but this is not why she was suspended. Solo was suspended for unsportsmanlike comments and a history of problems off the field.

This was not the first time she has been suspended for making negative comments. She was suspended during the 2007 World Cup after criticizing her coach’s decision to start goalkeeper Briana Scurry in 4-0 loss against Brazil.

“I think it was the wrong decision,” Solo said of Ryan’s decision to start Scurry. “I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that.”

Solo went on to criticize Scurry, her own teammate, saying that she would have been able to make the saves if she had played. She was removed from the team for the final game of that tournament, but was eventually brought back on the team when the U.S. hired Pia Sundhage to replace Ryan.

Along with her unsportsmanlike comments, she also faces domestic assault charges after she allegedly got in a drunken fight with her nephew in 2014. Although she may be one of the best goalkeepers to ever play for the United States, that is no excuse for Solo’s actions off the field. She has repeatedly embarrassed the U.S. National Team and now the U.S. Olympic team.

Her punishment, however, is not severe enough.

The six-month ban from the national team only rules Solo out for three friendly matches. After six months, Solo has the ability to return to the USWNT if coach Jill Ellis calls her in for camp.

This will put Solo back with the team right as they begin their 2017 season.

Hope Solo was not the only American to embarrass the country this summer in Rio.

Swimmer Ryan Lochte told reporters that he and three of his teammates were robbed at gunpoint, but Brazilian officials disputed the claim.

It eventually came to light that Lochte lied about the robbery to cover up the acts of the swimmers who vandalized a gas station and urinated in public, then payed for the damages after being confronted by guards.

Lochte’s lies were bad enough, but the fact that he was drunk when he originally reported the story makes things worse.

He admitted to letting his team down in an interview with NBC News’ Matt Lauer, but he did more than that. He let his country down.

Lochte has since lost all four of his major sponsorships, including Speedo and Ralph Lauren.

On top of losing his sponsorships, Lochte received a ten-month suspension from the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Despite accepting the ban, Jeff Ostrow, Locthe’s attorney, remains adamant that Lochte did not commit any crimes.

“Ryan did not commit a crime, he did not put the public safety at risk and he did not cheat in his sport,” Ostrow said.

Lochte continues to show his immaturity by denying his crimes. If he cannot admit when he is wrong, he does not deserve to represent his country.

Locate might be able to resume swimming for the United States in ten months, but it is unclear if he will and what role he will have if he does. His suspension rules him out for the FINA Swimming World Championships next summer in Budapest.

As of right now, it is unclear whether or not either athlete will represent the United States again, but Solo has a better chance of returning than Lochte does because of her shorter suspension and greater success with the team.

Despite this, it’s time for the USWNT to end its connection with Solo. She did great things for the team on the field, but the problems she has caused overshadow her accomplishments.

If USWNT gives Solo another chance, it will only be a matter of time before she embarrasses them again.

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