Is soccer playing the gender card?

Hope Solo

Hope Solo

The NFL domestic abuse narrative took a twist Saturday as that other “football” game – soccer – got into the act. 

Or didn’t. Hope Solo – goalie for the U.S. national women’s team – extended her shutout record to 73 even as she’s facing charges of punching her sister and 17-year-old nephew at a late-night, alcohol-fueled party, leaving them with head and face injuries. (Ironically, she was involved in an incident in which her husband, former football player Jerramy Stevens, allegedly assaulted her. A judge dismissed the case on the grounds of insufficient evidence.)

This as Roger Goodell emerged from wherever the Roger Goodells of the world go to announce the NFL will revamp its policy on personal conduct and Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was put on the non-football injury list after he was charged with head-butting his wife and throwing a shoe at their toddler. (In an unfortunate crossing of wires, Vanity Fair’s October issue placed Goodell eighth on its New Establishment list of The Powers That Be, citing the lucrative popularity of the game and the advent of Michael Sam. When did the issue go to press that it missed the domestic abuse scandal?)

Back to Solo. I care little for soccer and even less for women’s soccer or any women’s sport. But I have championed and will continue to champion women’s causes and rights. Still, we must love what we love with a view. Love that’s blind is meaningless. The truth is that women can inflict real harm, particularly on other women and minors. Female abusers should be treated no differently from their male counterparts, simply because women tend to be the victims rather than the victimizers.