The NFL is in crisis mode. Commissioner Roger Goodell took a pounding from the media Friday during and following a press conference in which he announced league-wide changes to handle domestic violence incidents involving NFL players.
But some feel U.S. Soccer should share a bit of the NFL's scrutiny. While stars like Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson have been punished for violent off-the-field incidents, perhaps the biggest star in women's soccer — Hope Solo — continues to prosper despite being arrested for domestic assault earlier this year.
Solo extended her career shutout record to 73 — surpassing the previous record — during a U.S. Women's National Team win against Mexico Thursday. That's an impressive feat, but many writers say Solo doesn't deserve to be on the pitch at all.
Cindy Boren at The Washington Post called Solo's domestic violence case the one that "no one is talking about" and asked, "While U.S. Soccer doesn’t have the same high profile as the NFL, how do the cases differ? Aren't women's soccer players just as much role models as male football players?"
So why is Solo being allowed to play? Of course, the words double standard comes to mind. Solo is a woman and an overwhelming majority of domestic violence incidents reported are perpetrated by men.
Solo's case is more rare — she's accused of assaulting her 17-year-old nephew and half sister.
A New York Times writer says, "Maybe everyone is just too busy calling out the N.F.L. for its ineptitude, but a light needs to shine on Solo's legal problems, too. It shows that domestic violence isn't committed only by men."
ESPN W's Kate Fagan takes it a step further and says nobody's been talking about Solo because nobody pays attention to women's athletics: "Female athletes mostly fly below the radar — for better and for worse."
Neil Buethe, U.S. Soccer spokesman, probably stoked the fire even more when he told USA Today he knows Solo has some legal issues but that we should also remember she had a chance to set a career shutouts record.
The NFL's domestic violence woes are putting the spotlight on Solo. And if the NFL's situation is any gauge, it's unlikely U.S. Soccer officials and Solo's sponsors will be able to stay quiet on this issue. In the time between Goodell's Sept. 9 interview and Friday's press conference, people began calling for him to come out of hiding and say something.
Solo has pleaded not guilty against those domestic assault charges. Her trial is set for November.
This video includes images from Getty Images.