A day before the U.S. women’s national team opens its World Cup play, the sister of goalie Hope Solo has spoken up and documents reveal new details about a domestic violence incident involving the family last June.
On ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Mark Fainaru-Wada reports that police records, depositions and an interview with Teresa Obert, Solo’s half-sister and one of the alleged victims in the incident, are at odds with Solo’s comments on what happened on “Good Morning, America,” on Facebook and in a new ESPNW story. Charges against her in Kirkland, Wash., were dismissed last winter, but prosecutors have filed an appeal.
The jail report obtained by Fairaru-Wada (read it here) reports that Solo was belligerent and intoxicated after her arrest on two counts of domestic violence early in the morning of June 21. The report says she fought with police as they attempted to book her into jail and yelled at one, “You’re such a b—-. You’re scared of me because you know that if the handcuffs were off, I’d kick your [expletive].” She insinuated that two jailers were having sex and called an officer a “14-year-old boy.” According to Fainaru-Wada, “When asked to remove a necklace, an apparently drunk Solo told the officer that the piece of jewelry was worth more than he made in a year.”
On “GMA” last February. Solo said: “I’m not going to go into all of the details, but it was a scary night. I was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of my 17-year-old nephew, who is 6-foot-9, 280 pounds. I was struck over the head, and concussed pretty severely. It was a very scary night.”
Obert, for the first time, is speaking publicly about what happened; her son was not named by ESPN because he was a minor at the time of the incident. He declined to speak to Fainaru-Wada.
“I felt like I had just been kicked in the head,” she said. “She should have been happy, but then, randomly, she goes on ‘Good Morning America’ and lies. I was very upset. It never had anything to do with size. She has tried to make him feel small his whole life. He’s not aggressive. She’s a trained athlete. She’s strong.”
Solo declined to comment to ESPN and declined to address the incident when asked by reporters during Women’s World Cup media day recently, focusing instead on soccer.
“I’m here to talk about the World Cup and soccer,” Solo told reporters. “What I can tell you is that I’m in the best place in my life both on the field and off the field. I have great teammates behind me, a great coaching staff, and I’m just honestly really excited for my third World Cup.”
Her lawyer said in a statement to ESPN, mentioning a detail from the report in which the nephew alleged struck Solo with a broom handle:
“Police reports and other court documents clearly demonstrate that the alleged victims radically changed their stories on multiple occasions and twice refused to answer questions under oath, despite court orders. Had the case proceeded to trial and the witnesses been cross-examined under oath subject to the penalty of perjury, the defense would have proven that Teresa’s son, not Hope, was the true aggressor, and that Hope suffered a concussion as a result of her nephew’s unlawful conduct.”
The fight, according to documents and ESPN, began when Solo arrived at her Obert’s home after a disagreement with her husband, former NFL player Jerramy Stevens. From ESPN’s report, Solo and the teen quarreled shortly before 1 a.m., with Solo telling him he was too “fat, unathletic and crazy” to ever be an athlete. He yelled for his mother and she called him a “mama’s boy,” among other things. From ESPN:
He told police Solo lunged at him to “take a swing,” hitting him lightly in the face. He said she charged and struck him multiple times. Obert, who had come into the room, said in her deposition and in an interview with Outside the Lines that her son briefly subdued Solo and she seemed to calm down. Obert told the teenager to let his aunt up off the ground. “She’s done,” Obert recalled telling her son, according to her deposition. He didn’t believe his mom, but she said, “No, she’s done. You can let go, she’s done.”
But when Obert’s son let Solo go, he told police she “immediately grabbed his hair, pulled his head down and started punching him in the face repeatedly.” Later, in the deposition, he said Solo “jumped on top of me and started bashing my head into the cement” inside the garage.
“She grabbed him by the head and she kept slamming him into the cement over and over again,” Obert told Outside the Lines. “So I came from behind her, and I pulled her over and, you know, to get her off my son. And then, once she got off, she started punching me in the face over and over again.”
After the nephew dialed 911, he grabbed a broken BB gun (Solo says it was a handgun). She left, but entered the premises through another entry. At that point, the nephew hit her over the head with what he has described as a broom handle and a paint-roller pole.
Police arrived and found all parties were agitated, showing scratches and bruises. Sgt. Phil Goguen, the first police officer to arrive, noted that, “When [Solo] spoke, her speech was slurred and I could smell the odor of intoxicating liquor on her breath.”
Fainaru-Wada goes on to describe in detail how the case against Solo was adjudicated. Solo now waits for the determination of the prosecutors’ appeal and prepares for World Cup. No matter what happens next, Obert knows the family is fractured further by her decision to speak.
“I think it’s so tragic, it’s so sad,” Obert told Fainaru-Wada. “… And I know me going [public], this is just sealing the nail in the coffin for our relationship. I know that. And I cried about it. I’ve done all these different emotions but I realized if I do not stick up for my son and the truth, then I’m doing a disservice to him as a mother.
“And so the future, I know we won’t be in each other’s lives, you know? Because I know she is so strong-willed. She’ll never tell the truth. And she’ll hate me for doing this. She probably believes her story at this point. So, yeah. I guess, you know, I did mourn my sister, have gone through every emotion. It’s like a death. It’s worse.”
Solo will be in goal for the team against Australia and the U.S. team has little choice but to go with the 33-year-old because her backups, Ashlyn Harris and Alyssa Naeher, are untested. So players and Coach Jill Ellis are soldiering on. As for Solo, she skipped the media session at the World Cup.
“Hope’s my teammate.” forward Abby Wambach told reporters in Winnipeg. “We are creating a bubble and we want nothing to penetrate that bubble right now.”
This post, originally published on June 7, has been updated.