If anyone knows my dad, they know he is a soccer junkie. I basically grew up at the soccer fields as my dad was always coaching multiple teams and running different soccer clubs. It’s safe to say that if you walk into our house, it is pretty much guaranteed that a soccer game will be on the screen. If I wanted to bond with my dad, I was dragged along to the soccer fields, spending time with him in between weekend games or driving to out-of-state tournaments.
A few nights ago, I was at my parents’ house and my dad asked me a very interesting question. He brought up the domestic abuse scandal surrounding U.S. Women’s National Team goalie, Hope Solo.
For those that don’t follow women’s soccer, Solo is believed by some to be the best goalie in the world. She is also believed by some to be a perpetrator of domestic violence after she was arrested on a charge of suspicion of domestic violence in 2014, according to the LA Times.
Currently, the U.S. Women’s National Team is in the midst of competing in the Women’s World Cup, the biggest stage for women’s soccer.
Many journalists and spectators have been calling for Solo to be removed from the team immediately because of her charges. The attention has been directed to U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati to take action against Solo immediately. The media is comparing Solo to NFL athletes Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, and asking U.S. Soccer to take a stand against domestic abuse.
Thinking my dad was just going to ask me a question about the World Cup games so far, he instead posed a different question: “If I was the public relations representative for U.S. Soccer, how would I direct Gulati to respond?"
I paused for a moment and responded with my take on the situation.
I would advise Gulati to tell the media that there would be no immediate action taken and that following any new information from the courts, U.S. Soccer will look further into the matter.
My reasoning for this direction of action is two-fold. First, the incident occurred one year ago, the charges were dropped in January (according to CNN), and it is being brought to the surface now, while the U.S. team is in the middle of the biggest tournament in the world. In fairness to the other 22 members of the team, right now is not the time to handle the situation.
Second, there has been no sanction by the court and legal system. If there is a verdict or conviction, then it is U.S. Soccer’s place to move forward with appropriate punishment. These federations need to let the judicial branch do its job before they step in with their own procedures.
In my opinion, we should be focusing on cheering on our country to world victory rather than digging up information on players. How would you handle the situation as a PR pro?