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London 2012

It’s Just My Opinion


“It’s not about what made me unhappy,” Solo said. “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.

“It’s just my opinion, and nothing else really matters, to be honest. What matters is tomorrow’s game against North Korea, playing at Old Trafford. The team’s excited. It’s my birthday. I don’t really care to answer any other questions about Brandi.” via ESPN


Those of the words of an Olympic athlete. Hope Solo, the US women’s soccer goalie, made no apologies for her Twitter rant about the skills and ability of NBC correspondent, Brandi Chastain. This Mashable article has all of the tweets that Solo spewed, which were also tagged for Facebook posts.

Solo’s comments about Chastain were inappropriate enough that coach Pia Sundhage called Solo in for a meeting to discuss. What’s unfortunate, though, is that it appears Hope Solo was not reprimanded in any way.

What lesson does that teach Hope Solo?

Solo’s posts and commentary may be “only her opinion” but how will she learn that her opinions, expressed in a very public forum where the whole world is watching, does not favorably represent the U.S. women’s soccer team nor Team USA?  How will she understand that her opinions do not reflect the opinions of the team or the USA? Will she understand that tweeting nasty comments teaches young girls who look up to her that that kind of behavior is acceptable? Will she realize that she comes across as a spoiled brat who doesn’t care what anyone else thinks? What lessons in leadership are missed here, as well?

I wonder what drove coach Sundhage to conclude that she would not discipline the birthday girl. She could have at least insisted that Solo apologize to Chastain. Solo could have been fined. Solo could have been benched for 15 minutes, a half or even an entire game. It would have been interesting to see if Solo is that big of a factor on the team. And it certainly would have driven home the point that smack talk is not an acceptable communication style for US Olympic athletes. Freedom of speech can be used as an argument here, but certain people are held to higher standards. We have greater expectations of the athletes that are privileged to represent our country in the Olympics.


During my softball days, my dad, who was also my coach, ran a very tight infield/outfield drill. As he and the other coach would smack softballs at us, one rule stood: If you drop the ball, everyone runs a lap. It was one drill which has stuck with me forever. My actions affect others.

Hope Solo could stand to learn the drill that her words are not just her opinion. In this scenario, they affect and reflect her team, her coaches, the US athletes and you.

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