By Ken Reed
The fact the heavily-favored United States’ women’s soccer team lost to underdog Sweden is a little embarrassing for a country that has dominated international soccer. But upsets happen. That’s one reason we love sport, the unpredictable nature of the competition.
But what’s really embarrassing is what happened after the USA-Sweden game. Hope Solo, the Americans’ star goalie, went on an ugly rant that was classless and boorish. It conjured up images of the “Ugly American” stereotype.
After the loss, Solo was quoted in part as angrily saying:
“I think we showed a lot of heart. I’m very proud of this team. And I also think we played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today.”
First of all, Solo’s comments, and the fallout that’s followed, have taken attention away from Sweden’s inspiring victory. The Swedes executed their game plan to perfection. Second, the United States women’s soccer team must now try to not only heal the pain of a shocking defeat but also deal with the huge negative PR hit that Solo caused. Solo’s poor sportsmanship was shameful and embarrassed herself, her teammates, the United States women’s soccer program and the country as a whole.
It’s the latest in a string of off-field incidents for Solo, including a domestic violence incident in which she was alleged to have beaten up her 17-year-old nephew and half-sister.
At best, Solo is clearly a sore loser. At worst, she is a terrible role model for the millions of young soccer players in this country, and a lousy representative for the United States on an international stage. She represents the exact opposite of good sportsmanship and made a mockery of the Olympic ideal, which is outlined on the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) website (Note: the bold letters and all-caps are the IOC’s):
OLYMPISM IS A PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE, EXALTING AND COMBINING IN A BALANCED WHOLE THE QUALITIES OF BODY, WILL AND MIND. BLENDING SPORT WITH CULTURE AND EDUCATION, OLYMPISM SEEKS TO CREATE A WAY OF LIFE BASED ON THE JOY FOUND IN EFFORT, THE EDUCATIONAL VALUE OF GOOD EXAMPLE AND RESPECT FOR UNIVERSAL FUNDAMENTAL ETHICAL PRINCIPLES.
The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
I don’t see Hope Solo’s behavior fitting in anywhere in that statement.
While Solo has been a great athlete and an excellent contributor to U.S. women’s soccer on the field, it’s time for the team and Solo to part ways.
That would be one very positive outcome from the Americans’ crushing loss to Sweden.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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