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With the ongoing controversy over the NFL's handling of domestic violence within its league, some eyes have turned to Hope Solo. The U.S. women's soccer player allegedly punched both her sister and teenaged nephew in the face earlier this summer. Solo plead not guilty and will go to trial in November.
"While I understand that the public desires more information regarding the allegations against me, I continue to maintain my innocence against these charges," she wrote on Facebook. "Once all the facts come to light and the legal process is concluded, I am confident that I will be fully exonerated."
Solo has not yet been formally charged. And, she vehemently claims her innocence. However, the unfortunate report has some thinking she shouldn't be allowed to play until the investigation is settled. The New York Times writes, "one can argue the differences between an NFL player punching his soon-to-be-wife and a soccer star brawling with her family, but it is indisputable that both qualify as domestic violence." The opinion here is that we're all overlooking Solo's alleged acts because she's a woman. According to the Times, she doesn't belong back on the field amidst these charges. "Not in a world in which female and male athletes are ever to be treated equally."
Not everyone sees it this way, though. The Atlantic believes comparing Solo to Ray Rice is not only unfair, but inaccurate. "Ray Rice did not so much 'brawl with his family' as he pummeled his fiancé into unconsciousness," writes Ta-Nehisi Coates, arguing that Solo's and Rice's crimes belong in different moral buckets — that, while her alleged acts are despicable, "they are not the same specimen of violent and wrong."
Coates believes that to reprimand Solo in the same manner as Rice or even Adrian Peterson ignores a larger historical truth. "Contrary to the flimsy notion that Real Men don't hit women, Real Men have been pummeling women for much of human history," she writes. "Hope Solo only becomes Ray Rice through the annihilation of inconvenient history — through some forgery that implies that there is no tradition of men controlling women through violence," arguing that while women do engage in domestic violence they do it with "neither the consistency, nor urgency nor lethality of men."
Regardless of how you feel about Solo's alleged acts and their place in the NFL conversation, we can all agree the relationship between sports and domestic violence can no longer be ignored.