U.S. Soccer Federation star Hope Solo has been suspended from the women’s team for 30 days following the DUI arrest of her husband, ex-NFL player Jerramy Stevens. According to TMZ, Solo was in the car when the couple was pulled over in Manhattan Beach, Calif., on Monday morning and was “acting belligerent” toward the police.
“During our current national team camp, Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates,” the federation said in a statement on the suspension, which means the goalie will miss two exhibition games. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”
The incident will not affect Solo’s deal with Nike. “Hope remains a Nike athlete,” the company told Footwear News in a statement. “This is a matter for her and U.S. Soccer.”
Both the athletic company and U.S. Soccer decided not to punish Solo last year when she faced misdemeanor domestic violence charges following an altercation with her sister-in-law and 17-year-old nephew. She pleaded not guilty, but the case was dropped when the alleged victims would not speak to defense attorneys.
Some in the sports industry pointed out the inconsistency in the leniency shown to Solo while NFL stars like Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice were suspended from the league and dropped by Nike after their domestic violence charges.
The NFL has been attempting to respond more quickly to allegations against players. Indianapolis Colts linebacker Josh McNary was swiftly put on the exempt list when he was charged with rape just days before the team’s playoff game last week. The Colts were also stinging from the random drug testing of their kicker, Adam Vinatieri, who kicked a 53-yard field goal (breaking a personal record) earlier this month at the age of 42.
Meanwhile, Reebok has been standing by its endorsement deal with UFC champ Jon Jones as he undergoes rehab for cocaine addiction.
Clearly, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to athletes who get in trouble on and off the field.
Solo issued an apology on her Facebook page on Tuesday. “I accept and respect the Federation’s decision, and more importantly, I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the Federation, who have always supported me. I think it’s best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months, and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team.”
Solo has her work cut out for her in the public-image department, as all eyes will be on the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team when the World Cup begins this June in Canada.