Friday, September 28, 2007

Perspectives on the U.S. Womens' Soccer Loss

It all seems so simple.

Greg Ryan benches Hope Solo.

Replacement goalie Briana Scurry gives up four goals.

Coach is a jerk.

Seems cut and dry. Or is it? From Jemele Hill:

By now, you probably have heard Solo's extremely candid remarks following Brazil's 4-0 victory over the United States on Thursday. Solo -- an appropriate name under the circumstances -- buried her coach and Scurry about as badly as Brazil star striker Marta did....

What I can't understand is why so many people consider Solo's remarks refreshing and brave, instead of selfish and counterproductive.

The first red flag was that Solo immediately pointed out she "would have made those saves." Translation: It's all about me.

If Solo wants to go after Ryan, fine. He deserves it. Starting Scurry -- who hadn't logged a single minute of playing time in China -- over Solo -- who hadn't given up a goal in 300 minutes -- was a mind-numbingly bad decision that should cost him at least his credibility, if not his job.

But that still doesn't give Solo the right to take the low road. She ran over Scurry like a two-ton semi. And Scurry has done a lot more for the U.S. team than Solo has....

We all can agree Ryan failed his team. But Solo's attacking her teammate was cheap, not brave. We can only imagine what kind of emotional state the Americans are in heading into their third-place game against Norway on Sunday. After such a crushing loss to Brazil, the last thing the U.S. needed was a potentially combustible locker room situation. Who knows what kind of chill this will bring to Solo's relationship with Scurry (if there was one) or how this might impact the other members of the national team?

Solo's act just proves you can be right, and wrong, at the same time.

I'm reminded of a scene from "The Bronx is Burning." Yes, I know that the scene may have been fictionalized, but still it's an illustration of what you should do.

Much of the story behind "The Bronx is Burning" is centered around Billy Martin's reluctance to play Reggie Jackson in the cleanup slot. In one game in the docudrama, Martin benched Jackson entirely. The docudrama then shows Jackson sitting on the bench, then suddenly standing up, cheering, and urging his team on. Considering his poor relationships with many of the Yankees, it's all the more remarkable that he's still cheering the team on.

The goal is to win.

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