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Double-standard allows soccer star Hope Solo to stay in the game
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By Andrea Peyser
October 6, 2014

Double-standard allows soccer star Hope Solo to stay in the game

t’s the crowning disgrace of the sports world.

Yet another renowned athlete has been hit with charges of domestic violence — allegedly pummeling two relatives, leaving a 17-year-old boy bleeding from a cut on his ear and a woman’s cheekbone swollen and purple.

But while beleaguered officials of the NFL have made belated attempts to stop the violence — exiling players accused or convicted of using their hands for reasons unrelated to a playing field — this sports figure continues to smack around a ball.

Charged in Washington state with two counts of misdemeanor fourth-degree domestic-violence assault is Hope Solo, superstar goalkeeper for the US women’s national soccer team and for the professional National Women’s Soccer League club the Seattle Reign. She’s accused of picking a vicious fight during a family party at her half-sister’s house in June.

So why is Solo, a two-time Olympic gold-medalist, still allowed to play ball? Simple. She’s a woman. The double standard is alive and well.

The US Soccer Federation should bench Solo. Now!

The goalie, 33, who appeared to be intoxicated, was arrested after she allegedly punched her 17-year-old nephew repeatedly in the face and called him “too fat and crazy’’ to be a pro athlete, according to a police report. Solo’s half-sister tried to break up the fight, but Solo punched the woman in the face, the report said. Her nephew broke a wooden broom handle over her head and pointed a nonworking BB gun at her, according to cops.

She pleaded not guilty to the charges against her and faces up to six months in jail if convicted at a trial scheduled for next month.

It hasn’t slowed down her career.

Meanwhile, the rogues’ gallery of sidelined football players — men convicted of domestic-violence-related crimes or just charged with them — grows by the day.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was cut from the team and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after video emerged of him beating his then-fiancée, now-wife, into unconsciousness in February. He escaped a felony assault charge by entering a pretrial diversion program, and is appealing the suspension.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list — a kind of paid leave of absence — after he was indicted in Texas on a felony charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child for allegedly beating his 4-year-old son with a switch in May.

Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, after being deactivated for one game, also made the commish’s get-paid-not-to-play list after he was arrested in May, then convicted by a judge, on misdemeanor counts of assault on a female and communicating threats for dragging his ex-girlfriend around his apartment by her hair and threatening to kill her. He appealed the conviction and now faces a jury trial.

Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was indicted on a felony charge of aggravated assault and eight misdemeanors after he broke his wife’s nose in their house in July with a head-butt when she refused his sexual advances, cops say. The next day, he allegedly punched her and threw a shoe at the stomach of his 17-month-old son. Dwyer was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list, and the Cardinals are paying him while his case winds through the legal system.

Defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested in August on suspicion of felony domestic violence against his pregnant fiancée. He continues to play for the San Francisco 49ers as prosecutors decide whether to charge him.

And Solo plays on.

Nike dumped its endorsement deal with Rice and suspended its contract with Peterson, who hasn’t been convicted of anything. But the sneaker giant is sticking with its gal, at least for the time being.

This is the tone-deaf statement that US Soccer Federation spokesman Neil Buethe gave to USA Today in August: “We are aware that Hope is handling a personal situation at the moment. At the same time, she has an opportunity to set a significant record that speaks to her hard work and dedication over the years with the national team. While considering all factors involved, we believe that we should recognize that in the proper way.’’

Translation: Forget the charges! Winning is everything.

Solo set a record of 72 shutouts, then extended it to 73 in exhibition games against Mexico last month. Days later, Scott Blackmun, chief executive officer of the US Olympic Committee, said the allegations against Solo are “disturbing and inconsistent with our expectations for Olympians.’’ But he declined to say she should be disciplined. US Soccer President Sunil Gulati said officials were standing by their decision to allow Solo to take the field while her case plays out.

Next week, qualifying matches for the 2015 Women’s World Cup begin, and Solo is set to play with the US team.

I’m horrified that a woman accused of beating relatives while drunk is deemed worthy of representing this country. Unless and until she can prove her innocence, Hope Solo must go.

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