“Over time there’s been off-the-field distractions and the federation has taken action,” Ellis explained. “Each time action has been taken, there’s been made clear an expectation that this would be the last time such a step would be necessary. Sadly, Hope’s postgame comments forced us to make a significant decision. It wasn’t a decision just made about comments. It was a sum total of actions that have unfortunately shown a negative light on our program.”
Solo’s punishment came on the heels of a sub-par Olympics performance and a poor impression she made on Brazilians over her concerns about the Zika virus. Solo, who had tweeted photos of all sorts of mosquito repellents and said she might not leave her hotel in Rio, was greeted with “Zika” chants during games.
And the lead-up to the 2015 World Cup wasn’t much better. Solo was suspended when her husband was charged with DUI while the two were out in the team van during training for the competition. That incident came less than a year after she was charged with a misdemeanor in an alleged domestic-violence incident involving two of her relatives. That case is still pending.
Solo, who has been vocal about the fight for equal pay and playing conditions for women, attributed her suspension to her activism.
“They’re going to use my comments as an excuse to get rid of me forever, so that they don’t have to deal with such a strong voice and opposition to field conditions and playing conditions and pay,” Solo on “Keeping Score,” a documentary series that aired on the Fullscreen streaming service. “I think I’m just a thorn in their side and it’s time for them to cut their losses.”
With the Olympics over and the next World Cup in 2018, Solo, 35, will miss only a few games. She presently is taking a leave of absence from her pro team, the Seattle Reign, for the rest of the year.