Drawing Distinctions

"With his age and declining ability....it's time for a little R&R."
- Billy Haisley on Steven Gerrard joining MLS, January 7

"Also, it's a little rough that the big attraction for many of you was watching a 36-year-old Frank Lampard trundle up and down a makeshift Yankee Stadium pitch."
- Billy Haisley on NYCFC, January 2

"The highest profile one, obviously, is the possibility that Ronaldo might be able to show off some of the real athleticism he's retained and make it out onto the pitch. The striker whose career was often hampered by injuries and is now hampered by his prodigious appetite seemed hopeful about the prospects of slimming down and getting back to his true love...."
- Billy Haisley on the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, January 16

"Christ, what a hack.  Screamer?  Yeah, more like Steamer."
- Me on Billy Haisley

No links, because I assume most of you have either subjected yourself to Deadspin's alleged soccer coverage, or have made an understandable - hell, laudable - decision not to.  If the expansion Miami Mules were to think about starting David Beckham, Haisley would have been the first to lead a chorus of horse laughs at MLS' expense, and he'd have been absolutely right. 

....oh, so the USSF is keeping Ft. Lauderdale from riding Ronaldo to MLS glory?  Are they not also preventing Ft. Lauderdale from going down to the NPSL, which is probably a more deserved fate for a team thinking of starting a guy who hasn't played since 2011? 

...."Miami Mules" is from my unpublished and now impossible theory that Chivas USA would  move to Miami and change their nickname from "Goats."  Now that I see the joke actually typed out?  I can't believe I didn't use it.  Hilariously funny.  Aren't you glad you're reading me instead of Haisley?  Sure you are.

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So, our old friend Thomas Dooley has been re-upped as coach of the Philippines national team.  I mention this because it's just so weird reading about a German-born coach, relocated and acclimated to America, who takes over a national team for a country that cares much more about basketball than soccer, and makes a series of highly controversial lineup changes, only to ultimately be rewarded with a new contract.

I know, it's not an exact parallel.  For one thing, the Philippines have actually improved.

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I GUESS at some point we - or at least I - should say that yes, it would in fact have been very unjust to suspend a player for being not guilty of a misdemeanor.  Hope Solo was completely vindicated last week, and is now ready to focus on competing for the DaMarcus Beasley "We seriously don't have someone better by now?" Memorial Roster Spot.

"Dan, Beasley ended up playing really darned well when it mattered."  Hey, so might Hope Solo. 

I highly recommend Kevin Brown's recap for a little perspective, especially the stat line of the victim.  Brown raises some questions that probably should be addressed by both federation and fans:

There’s no sign of the passionate opinion that filled news feeds — not even among soccer-specific media — about this case either at the time of its occurrence, or again in September, at the time of Solo breaking the record.

Is it because people incorrectly believe a dismissal of charges is some kind of innocence-proving resolution? Is it because they just aren’t interested in the story anymore? We may not know what our neighbors are thinking this time around, but we do know that Hope Solo will avoid punishment for the incident, either by the court system, her club soccer employer, or the national federation.

Well, here's my opinion. 

Perhaps I'm being out of line here, but it's very hard to summon the same level of sympathy for Solo's victim as for, say, Jamay Rice.  Jamay Rice was not, to the best of my recollection, a 6'8, 280 pound prospective professional athlete.  Solo's incident was, objectively, far less ugly than anything the NFL has thrown at us.

And frankly, the passionate opinion is absent because, well, no one likes to apologize.  On the surface, Solo was vindicated.  Mumbled explanation are the order of the day, even when it seems like we should be much, much louder about how wrong we all were.

Except by Solo's own account, something wacky happened

I would like to apologize to my fans, teammates, coaches, marketing partners and the entire US Soccer and Seattle Reign FC communities for my involvement in a highly unfortunate incident this past weekend. I understand that, as a public figure, I am held to a higher standard of conduct. I take seriously my responsibilities as a role model and sincerely apologize to everyone I have disappointed.

That was from last June.  Like I said, no one likes to apologize, even someone who has been obliged to as much as Hope Solo.  And it's not usual for the victim to apologize. 

Oh, wait, Jamay Rice did?  Crap.  This is a can of worms, isn't it.

Well, how about this.  Solo's standard is the correct one.  We need to hold our representatives to a higher standard of conduct, and even though Solo was not convicted, even being involved with a sordid, alcohol-related incident such as this should have consequences. 

Oh, wait.  Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes was given a year's probation for drunk driving, and got roughly one-billionth the criticism that Solo received.  Crap.

Well, um, there it is.  It's hard to summon up passionate opinion for putting something behind us, and that's what we've all decided to do.  We gave Vermes another chance, and a court of law actually punished him.  It would be insanely unfair to do less for Solo.