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
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Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
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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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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