Hope Springs a Leak

Posted on July 29, 2012 3:37 pm

In a minute I’m going to tell you exactly, word for word, what Brandi Chastain said, but first, let’s just say it up front:

Hope Solo needs to shut the hell up.

No more “We were drunk as hell on the Today Show”. No more “We snuck men past Olympic Security”. No more “winkie winkie” about banging some guy in the Olympic Village the same day you won the Gold.

And for God’s sake no more crapping on other teammates, commentators, coaches and anyone else who fails to grant you the adoration Solo feels is rightly hers.

If for no other reason than, frankly, she’s making it more and more evident with each passing incident that, to put it bluntly, people are going to start seeing her as just another boorish, obnoxious, self-aggrandizing ego-besotten athlete who everyone will be glad to see replaced.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, in the interests of actually looking at the facts – which seems to most commentators to be largely if not entirely unnecessary – let’s review what happened and who said what about whom and why:

Meghan Rapinoe got the ball roughly in the center of the US half and the rest of the team is trying to transition into an attack.

To buy a few seconds as well as to maintain unchallenged possession, Rapinoe played a very simple backpass to US left back Rachel Buehler, who was directly behind her maybe 10 yards back.

Buehler takes a controlling touch and then, inexplicably, plays a slow, lazy roller at about a 45 degree angle towards the sideline.

There was no US player even remotely near where she sent it. Unfortunately, there WAS a Columbian player, who appears startled to receive such a lovely and gentle pass from an opponent, but she quickly recovers and starts an attack from well inside the US half.

Brandi Chastain, working the game for NBC, says the following:

“Defend. Win the Ball. And keep possession. That’s something that Buehler actually needs to, I think, improve on in this tournament.”

Period. End of statement. Most people – including, as I heard in an interview this morning, even Julie Foudy – took no notice of what was, to almost anyone’s ears, a simple, not particularly derogatory statement from a person who is paid to, you know, say such things.

But not to our girl Hope who hopped on her smart phone almost immediately after the match and – of course – proceeded to prove once again why most athletes should not be allowed to have Twitter accounts.

She wrote:

“Its 2 bad we cant have commentators who better represents the team&knows more about the game @brandichastain!”

First of all, do they teach English at the University of Washington? I don’t mean to be the grammar police here but that’s pretty embarrassing.

Secondly, Chastain’s job is not to “represent the team”.

Thirdly, to suggest that Chastain doesn’t understand the game is, to put it bluntly, laughable.

But even after laying that egg for all the world to see, Solo obviously continued to stew on the topic and a few minutes later added this gem:

“Lay off commentating about defending and gking until you get more educated @brandichastain the game has changed from a decade ago.”

First of all, no, the game has not fundamentally changed since Chastain played it and, in any case, she was still an active professional (FC Gold Pride) up until two years ago.

Second of all, Chastain was primarily a defender.

Was she done? Of course not.

“I feel bad 4 our fans that have 2 push mute, especially bc @arlowhite is fantastic.@brandichastain should be helping 2 grow the sport”

Let me point out that I have heard from exactly no “fans that have to hit mute” while watching a match Chastain is working. Is she Andy Grey or even Ray Hudson? No indeed. But there are far worse than her.

What Hope is apparently saying is that she feels Chastain’s role is to be Little Mary Sunshine, delivering a steady stream of cheerful patter, flattering descriptions and rah-rah-USA! palaver aimed at convincing the viewing public that what they’re watching is better than it actually is.

I’d like to suggest, however, that NBC is actually paying her to tell the truth as she sees it. If the USSF and Miss Solo need PR fluff, let them pay for it. Perhaps her pal Dan Borislow can find it in his budget.

Otherwise, she ought to just play the game.

If not, she won’t be the first athlete who finds out that she’s just not worth the trouble.

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