Hope Solo was pitied for being the victim of domestic violence. Then she was scolded. All the while, nobody really knew if she was ever abused or in any danger.
In a wild day, made only crazier by the ridiculous conclusions that people were too eager to jump to, Solo showed up to court to see her fiance appear on a domestic violence charge that was quickly dismissed. There was no evidence for the court to charge Solo's fiance nor was there nearly enough for observers to come to any legitimate, conclusions but while the court acted intelligently, the public didn't. Solo was the victim, and somehow at fault.
Solo's problem was her fiance Jerramy Stevens. The former NFL player has a long history of arrests, bad judgement and downright sickening behavior. On that alone, Solo was deemed crazy to date him, agree to marry him and a day after appearing in court, marry him.
In the 15 days since, Solo faded from the spotlight. People ceased to care and she, nor Stevens, was a topic of conversation -- until today.
The United States has gathered again for a series of friendlies, bringing Solo back to the forefront. Without a competitive match or a compelling opponent, and people's desires to delve back into the domestic violence case that they know little about and still care to weigh in on, Solo was asked about her marriage to Stevens
"My life is great," the goalkeeper said. "My life is happy. I'm happy. I'm happily married."
Good for Solo. Ideally, everyone would be happy and should they choose to marry, be happily married. The question is why do we care about Solo's marriage?
How is Alex Morgan's relationship? Is Tobin Heath dating a good samaritan? Is Clint Dempsey happy with his wife? Why doesn't Lionel Messi marry his longtime girlfriend and mother of his newborn child? Less time has been spent analyzing athletes in other sports who have been arrested themselves, sometimes for violent crimes.
People do not care. Morgan, Dempsey, Messi and the rest of these soccer players are left to lead their lives, have their relationships and do as they please. Athletes get arrested. People move on.
Solo is somehow different, though. People were compelled to care about Solo's non-domestic abuse and weigh in. They care whether Solo is now happily married. Some have questioned whether she could possibly be happy with Stevens despite her statements, because they know, or something. This isn't a new fascination to peer into Solo's personal life and psyche either. She has been scrutinized and judged for years, long before Stevens came into her life.
Is this odd desire to care about Solo's personal life because she is a "hot mess", as she has been called? Would we care if she was a man? Is this really a matter of being a "role model", a label applied to her only when it is convenient and rarely to praise her? Is she just an easy target?
The answer is probably all of the above.
We have been conditioned, told and/or compelled to care about Solo's personal life in a completely different way than we have other soccer players, certainly different than we have American soccer players and most definitely other women soccer players. But why do we care? Should we care?
There isn't a particularly good arguement for caring. Solo says she is happy, and good for her. If she isn't happy, well, lots of people aren't happy in their relationship. Solo is an adult, capable of handling her own life without our half-baked and ill-informed judgement.
Solo said one thing of importance.
"I would never stand for domestic violence. I've never been hit in my life."
Good for you, Hope. You shouldn't ever be hit, nor should you or anyone else stand for it.
You say you are happy, which is wonderful. Next story, or should we examine Tim Howard's relationships too?