With a few notable exceptions, U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer have avoided the off-the-field legal troubles that have plagued other Americans sports leagues. For the most part, MLS has handed out suspensions for on-the-field misconduct rather than arrests. That might be part of the reason fans were so shocked when the president of FC Dallas and the most recognizable woman in U.S. soccer were reportedly involved in domestic-abuse cases last weekend.
The soccer community will be looking to both cases to send a strong anti-violence message, but they may be disappointed to find those messages muddled in the complex realities of domestic abuse cases.
Dallas Chief Executive on Indefinite Leave Following Arrest
Doug Quinn, the president and CEO of FC Dallas, has taken an indefinite leave of absence after being arrested in New York City for allegedly punching his wife in the face and smothering her.
According to police, Quinn and his wife were arguing in a hotel room in Manhattan when he punched her repeatedly in the face and then held a pillow over her head so that she could not breathe.
He was released on $20,000 bond following a court appearance Wednesday morning, but he must return to court on Thursday. His lawyer, Alan Futerfas, told the media that there is another side to the story.
Hunt Sports Group Vice President Dan Hunt will take over Quinn’s duties in the interim. The ownership group declined to comment but acknowledged being aware of the report.
Hope Solo Named as Victim in Domestic-Abuse Investigation
Former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens was arrested early Monday morning on suspicion of fourth-degree assault on U.S. women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo.
At 3:45 a.m. Monday, police responded after Solo’s brother, Marcus, reportedly called police to report a fight at a party. He blamed the incident on unwanted guests and admitted using a stun gun on one of them.
According to the report, Solo repeatedly told her brother not to talk to police, while others in the home were intoxicated and uncooperative.
Officers said they found Stevens of hiding on the floor between the wall and bed, although he claims he was asleep and did not hear the fight.
Stevens reportedly admitted to officers that he had been arguing with Solo about whether to live in Florida or Washington following their wedding. Solo had a cut on her elbow, while Stevens had dried blood on his shirt.
The two appeared in court Tuesday before they were scheduled to get married. After the hearing, Stevens was released with the judge ruling there was a lack of evidence, but police in Kirkland, Wash., plan to continue the investigation.
Seattle Sports Radio KJR and KING-TV reported that Steven and Solo were married Tuesday evening as scheduled. Police admitted their investigation would be hampered if Solo refuses to cooperate.
Stevens has a long criminal history. His most serious arrest was for sexual assault in 2000. The prosecutor declined to file charges due to conflicting statements, but a civil case was settled out of court. In 2001, he crashed into a nursing home and fled the scene.
Some have criticized Solo for going ahead with the marriage in light of the circumstances. Solo remains a popular role model for young girls, and women’s groups worry this could send the wrong message regarding how to respond to domestic abuse.
Interestingly, Solo recently published a book in which she makes allegations of physical abuse by others. She claimed that former national team coach Greg Ryan shoved her in 2007 and Dancing with the Stars partner Maks Chmerkovskiy hit her during practice for the show. Both men have denied the accusations.
The criticism she took for making those allegations may have influenced her decision to stay quiet this time, or maybe she does not believe the violence is that serious. Of course, another possibility is that Stevens is innocent, but it would be nice to hear that from her. Unfortunately, these very personal cases rarely turn out the way the rest of us want.