Hope and Change

As God is my witness, I wasn't going to write a piece about the latest escapades of America's Sweetheart, Hope Solo.

Since my original story a couple years ago wherein I joked about Our Miss Solo showing up on COPS hollering at the po-po while they stuffed her old man in the back of a squad car - and took a heaping ration of crap for it - the erstwhile US Women's Soccer GK has continued to veer uncomfortably close to turning a smartassed throwaway blog paragraph into a slowly evolving prediction.

However, at this point the story is becoming less about Solo and more about the USSF and how they have worked like little beavers at preventing anything like actual facts from leaking over the transom. And failing miserably.

As you surely know by now, Mrs Solo-Stevens was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her husband, ex-NFL journeyman and jail cell frequent flier Jerramy Stevens who was, according to police, well into his cups and ended up being cited for DUI and spending the night in the can.

USSF almost immediately announced that Solo was being suspended for 30 days, and she in turn issued another in the long series of interchangeable, bland and utterly unconvincing boilerplate "apologies" which her PR reps must keep in a stack next to the fax machine.

It did seem ironic at best that USSF, who stubbornly refused to suspend Solo when the police reported that she had beaten the crap out of a couple relatives because, while she was formally charged, until she had the opportunity to defend herself in court it was "wrong" to punish her, were lightning quick in their suspension of her for being a simple passenger in a car and unaccused of anything.

But as today has worn on, details have emerged that both shed light on the incident and raise serious questions about how the USSF has handled the Solo Problem from day one.

First of all reports have emerged which suggest that, far from being a passive bystander tightly clutching her purse as the Cops patted down and cuffed her Wayward Swain, both police and observers say that Solo was loud, inappropriate and obnoxious and that thepolice - who recognized here - were very close to arresting her for obstruction before finally getting hotel personnel to more or less drag her inside.

Then, early this morning, Julie Foudy reported that according to a "team source" the main reason USSF finally lost it with their first choice keeper is that they, like everybody else, only found out about the incident from TMZ hours after it occurred.

After taking months of shit for not only not suspending her for beating up family members but, instead, naming her team captain, she doesn't even pick up the phone, call Media guru Neil Buethe and say "Hey, um, you may, like, be about to get some phone calls and stuff".

And as they say on TV infomercials: But wait - there's more.

TMZ is now reporting that the vehicle Stevens was arrested driving was, in fact, a USSF team van.

No, I am not making this up. Hand to God.

So the first question, aside from "What kind of a moron gives those two clowns the keys to a damned thing?", is "Did USSF really think the gory, delightful details would not eventually leak out?

One would think that USSF would want to get out in front of this kind of thing. "Our starting keeper and her hubby, drunk on their asses, were out joy riding around Manhatten Beach CA in a USSF team van and got popped by the fuzz" might be a bit strong, but the vanilla "She was naughty" explanation fell woefully short of candid, transparent and forthcoming.

But, sadly, none of those terms has ever been used to describe our friends at the Fed. They get away with it because the only people they'll actually talk to are Grant Wahl and Steven Goff and neither one of them is ever going to risk their precious access by asking embarrassing questions.

Still, when TMZ is gleefully dragging your organization's featured performer around the barn and doing a tap dance, the same old same old just isn't good enough.

I don't expect USSF to tell you, me, Wahl or anybody else that they're arranged for Solo to get professional help for what certainly seems on the face of it to be a serious substance abuse problem.

But if Solo shows back up in a US uniform in 30 days, then we'll know that the Federation cares less about it's people than it does about it's V ratings.

It's time - in fact, well past time - for the USSF to take this situation seriously.

In the meantime, I hope USSF is aware that they dodged a serious bullet here:

Iif Mr and Mrs Stevens had injured or killed someone during their drunken late night joy ride around Manhatten Beach, Buethe and Gulati would be fending off phone calls from a whole bunch of people who don't give  damn about press passes for US/Mexico, but do care about athletic officials who are arguably guilty of contributory negligence.

It's time to get serious.