Hope Solo has received a six-month suspension for calling the Swedish football team “a bunch of cowards”.
The U.S. Women’s goalkeeper made the comments in the aftermath to Team USA’s quarter-final defeat to Sweden at the Rio Olympics on August 12.
Solo, who won Gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics’, has released a statement, admitting she is “saddened by the Federation’s decision.”
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The 35-year-old will be unable to represent her country until February 2017 after the comments she made following Team USA’s penalty shootout defeat to the eventual runner-ups.
She has received support from Rich Nichols, the general counsel for the players’ association of the women’s national team, who called the suspension “a violation of Ms. Solo’s First Amendment rights,” per the The New York Times.
“For 17 years, I dedicated my life to the U.S. Women’s National Team and did the job of a pro athlete the only way I knew how — with passion, tenacity, an unrelenting commitment to be the best goalkeeper in the world, not just for my country, but to elevate the sport for the next generation of female athletes.
“In those commitments, I have never wavered. And with so much more to give, I am saddened by the Federation’s decision to terminate my contract.”
Solo, who made her national team debut in 2000, continued: “I could not be the player I am without being the person I am, even when I haven’t made the best choices or said the right things.
“My entire career, I have only wanted the best for this team, for the players and the women’s game and I will continue to pursue these causes with the same unrelenting passion with which I play the game.”