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Hope Solo’s senseless Twitter fight with Brandi Chastain

Solo Twitter 2

The Olympics have started gloriously for Pia Sundhage’s team. In fact, given such a rousing Opening Ceremonies just south of the U.S. women’s quarters, seen by record numbers, and such a promising start in the side’s reach for gold, things could only be better for the first ladies of American soccer if it were actually raining rose petals at their Glasgow base.

So, why are we talking about a petty and unflattering public spat – one that has nothing much behind it?

Because U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo has made it that way.

Read up … and then meet me at the bottom of the Twitter screen grab.

Solo Twitter 2


That is Solo swinging away at NBC soccer analyst Brandi Chastain. And that is Solo being her outspoken self, which isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes things need to be said.

(MORE: Jenna Pel’s analysis of Saturday’s contest)

The trouble is that Hope has no filter – and sometimes things don’t necessarily need to be said. Or, perhaps, they need to be handled quietly, through back channels, with greater subtlety and less social media amplification.Solo was quite vocal in criticism for then-coach Greg Ryan back in 2007. She has also used Twitter to “have a go” at WPS and at magicJack.

(Full disclosure: this blog is an NBC property; NBC is the U.S. Olympics rights holder, of course)

Now Chastain is the target of her social media rancor. We could have a lively discussion about Chastain as a broadcaster, and there is surely some history between Chastain and Sundhage, which means that agendas could be in play in the conversation. That’s all fair to talk about – but it’s something beside the point here.

Because if Chastain spewed something Saturday worthy of such outrage, I sure missed it. A quick canvas of social media shows that others did, as well. Chastain has been critical here and there of the U.S. run-up to the summer games, but there was little venom in her appraisals Saturday.

This was about the worst of it, what Chastain said about defender Rachel Buehler’s responsibilities: “Defend. Win the ball. And then keep possession. And that’s something that Rachel Buehler actually needs to, I think, improve on in this tournament.”

The acrimonious Tweets came so quickly after Saturday’s final whistle, Solo almost certainly didn’t hear any of the broadcast herself. This is probably about old wounds, or it’s about bad information provided by someone beyond the team.

Olympics Day - 2 - Women's Football - USA v France

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 25: Hope Solo of USA drinks during the Women’s Football first round Group G Match of the London 2012 Olympic Games between United States and France, at Hampden Park on July 25, 2012 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Either way, Solo looks rather petty in this one. Chastain had lots of good and a few bad things to say about the United States, which prevailed comfortably over Colombia.

It could be this “new guard” and “old guard” issue at work; Chastain was among the heroes of another day.

But is that really so important with bigger fish and chips to fry in the UK? There is an Olympic gold medal at stake, and presumably some most of the other U.S. players and staff don’t give a five-ringed hoot about what Chastain says to audiences back home, within reason, of course. They may roll their eyes a bit, but they understand that firing back on Twitter does zero for the greater gold-chasing good, so they move professionally forward.

Why would America’s No. 1 in goal potentially jeopardize team chemistry and create a wholly unnecessary distraction on such an inconsequential issue?

Good question. Maybe Solo can provide some answers; we hear Twitter is good for stuff like that.