Maybe Hope Solo was bored, or maybe it was her way of getting in a good post-match workout after seeing very minimal action in the USA’s 3-0 victory against Colombia.
Solo managed to steal the spotlight away from the American team’s victory Saturday by taking to Twitter and throwing a barrage of shots at US national team legend Brandi Chastain.
Less than two hours after the USA clinched a place in the quarterfinals, Solo unleashed the following tweets at Chastain, who is working as a color analyst for NBC during the Olympics:
“Its 2 bad we cant have commentators who better represents the team&knows more about the game @brandichastain! #fb”
“Lay off commentating about defending and gking until you get more educated @brandichastain the game has changed from a decade ago.”
“Its important 2 our fans 2 enjoy the spirit of the olympics.Its not possible when sum1 on air is saying that a player is the worst defender!”
“I feel bad 4 our fans that have 2 push mute, especially bc @arlowhite is fantastic @brandichastain should be helping 2 grow the sport #fb”
While it is unclear what exactly drew the venom from Solo — and led her to post at least two angry tweets at Chastain before even acknowledging her team’s victory — there is no question that there is some serious animosity toward Chastain by Solo, a former teammate.
The two were part of the US national team setup from 2000 and 2004, but appeared in the same match only three times (with their only start together coming Sept. 8, 2002, in an 8-2 win against Scotland).
So what could Solo have been so upset about? Chastain has not been afraid to criticize US players during her calls of games, as evidenced by comments Chastain made during Saturday’s match, and it would appear that comments she made about the US defense led to the angry series of tweets from Solo.
If Solo was really upset about the fact Chastain criticized American players, then someone might want to give Solo a primer on what it is television commentators do. Criticizing players, as well as praising them, is part of the job, though sometimes athletes have a hard time accepting criticism from former teammates.
The irony of the attack is that, while Chastain criticizes American players, she can often be found at fault for being too much of a cheerleader for the US team when she commentates on USA matches. Chastain was downright angry Saturday after Colombian forward Lady Andrade struck Abby Wambach in the face.
Chastain wouldn’t be the first former US national team player to face backlash for comments made while calling national team matches. Former US men’s national team captain John Harkes was long judged for being overly critical of the men’s national team, and for years being too critical of Clint Dempsey. However, his comments never yielded the sort of Twitter backlash that Chastain faced Saturday.
You can call it sticking up for teammates, but Solo picked a pretty bad time to go public with her Chastain bashing. Her comments made instant headlines and took attention away from a quality USA performance in a match Solo didn’t have very much to do in.
Solo’s outburst definitely brought to mind the moment when she first made major headlines in her career. Back in the 2007 World Cup, she publicly went after then-head coach Greg Ryan and veteran goalkeeper Brianna Scurry after Ryan benched Solo in favor of Scurry in a World Cup semifinal loss to Brazil.
Her latest outburst will surely turn some heads and lead many to wonder whether it was just another case of Solo losing her temper, or perhaps an attempt to draw some buzz to a soon-to-be-released autobiography (or maybe a hacked Twitter account, which tends to be the excuse when unfortunate tweets go flying).
Whatever the case, Solo’s tweets are sure to become the story now, when the focus should be on a USA team that looks good enough to win another Olympic gold medal.