On rushing to judgement and jumping to conclusions: Jerramy Stevens and Hope Solo

Jeff Kassouf November 14, 2012 19

Hope Solo during training at the Home Depot Center on Sept. 15. (Copyright Patricia Giobetti | http://www.printroom.com/pro/psgiobetti)

Tuesday’s news that former NFL player Jerramy Stevens and U.S. women’s soccer star Hope Solo were involved in an alleged domestic dispute brought out the cynic in a lot of people.

So much for benefit of the doubt, or innocent until proven guilty.

Stevens has a well-documented past of run-ins with the law, including accusations of rape. It’s been suggested that he received preferential treatment in getting off easy from these alleged crimes.

(Disclaimer: The above link is a disturbing account. As I reiterate throughout this piece, I don’t condone any of those alleged actions. The issue at hand for Solo is her involvement with Stevens.)

Solo, widely considered the world’s best goalkeeper, has had plenty of public squabbles, from being ostracized from the U.S. World Cup team in 2007 for publicly calling out coach Greg Ryan and fellow goalkeeper Brianna Scurry following a 4-0 semifinal loss to Brazil to more recent encounters. Those and much more can be found in Solo’s book, Solo: A Memoir of Hope.

So when news broke on Tuesday (and boy, did it break in a flurry) that Stevens and Solo were engaged and planned to wed on Tuesday, but instead spent the day in court, many gave the obligatory eye roll and the digital condemnation of these two public figures.

‘Here we go again with Stevens?’ was the notion from an NFL scope. ‘What did Solo expect dating a guy with that kind of history?’ was a prevailing thought of the women’s soccer player most under the microscope. Just read the comment sections of some of the stories linked above and below.

And within about an hour of this whirlwind of a story breaking, we learned that the judge in Kirkland, Washington determined there was “zero” evidence that Stevens abused Solo.

Even Kirkland Police have been accused by Stevens’ attorney, Todd Maybrown, of “jumping to conclusions.”

But there are still plenty of detractors. Guess what, they still planned to wed even after the day in court.

What presented itself on Tuesday was a case of reputations preceding people. Stevens’ reputation as a trouble-maker and Solo’s reputation as a trouble-seeker left many critiquing the situation in that ‘told you so, greater than thou’ sort of manner.

Here’s what I know: I don’t know the first thing about Stevens. I don’t know if he has changed his ways from past run-ins with the law. I don’t know what he and Solo have together. Heck, most of us only even learned on Monday that they were dating.

So who am I, or anyone else, other than maybe close family, to judge their relationship?

I would never condone any form of domestic violence, but no evidence suggests there was any, according to the court.

I know I would be furious if somebody on the street or a random emailer ever tried to critique me or my spouse/fiancee/friend in that situation. And I would bet you’d all feel the same way if a bunch of people tried to convince you that your spouse is a terrible person and you are crazy to be in the relationship you are in.

Sure, both Stevens and Solo are public figures, so people are going to want the gossip; they are in the limelight. But for Tuesday’s happenings to be viewed as Solo’s ‘fault’ for dating a guy with a troubled past is absurd.

We still don’t have all the facts, but “zero” evidence of abuse is pretty strong language. Maybe we will learn more about this soon. But for all we know, a bunch of people got drunk and got into a scuffle. Now tell me, how many of you haven’t seen, heard of or maybe even been involved in something like that?

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, and that people can change. If it evidence presents itself to suggest there are serious problems, then there is reason for concern.

And let me be clear: I don’t condone any form of violence or any of the previous accusations against Stevens. Those are serious. If it turns out he is guilty of hurting Solo, then the guy deserves punishment. But as of right now, that has not been proven.

  • jschaefer

    Based on this tweet from Loyden (who mentioned arriving in Seattle over the weekend), it looks like they did indeed get married: https://twitter.com/jloyden/status/268600150748958720

    Not judging their relationship itself, but after reading that Seattle Times piece, it says a lot about our legal system that this guy has repeatedly gotten away with slaps on the wrist for serious crimes just because he was good at catching a football.

    Solo is free to love/marry whoever she wants to but I don’t disagree with those who are tired of all the off-the-field drama.

    • necron99

      Well we can say this much. She didn’t tweet about her relationship. She didn’t talk about it in interviews. She didn’t mention her plans to marry at all. She also didn’t reply to any of the talk on twitter after the incidence. By all accounts she did not bring any light to this drama. Clearly some drama happened but people chased her to find it, she didn’t bring it to us.

      • http://twitter.com/PAsoccerdad PAsoccerdad

        It will be in her next book – when she needs to promote herself again… then we get to hear all about him hitting and pushing her….

        • Wear Nikes Drink Gatorade

          So your point is that you don’t have one

  • Oly4ever

    Scoreboard Baby!!!

  • http://twitter.com/arteetee Roger

    I agree that the domestic violence charge is likely nothing. But this marriage does seem to fall in with her history of impulsive decisions. I truly hope it works, because an unhappy marriage is a terrible experience for anyone. But this relationship seems to have every possible warning sign of future trouble. All I can say is, Good Luck!

  • http://twitter.com/xphile101 Michelle

    There was zero evidence that he assaulted her because she refused to talk to the cops and was uncooperative, per the first reports. That, coupled with “Don’t talk to them, Marcus!” doesn’t add up to nothing, in my eyes.

    Best of luck to them. Jill Lloyden and Kelley O’Hara seem untroubled, per their latest tweets, so who am I to worry?

  • http://twitter.com/caryoaky Cary Oaky

    Agree with you Jeff on not jumping to conclusions with this incident. But I am going to judge Solo on her choice to marry this guy. He’s got a rap sheet a mile long and has been accused/found guilty of some pretty terrible things over the years. I’m a big fan of Hope as a player, but her off the field antics can be draining to me as a fan of the USWNT. Anyway, I wish the best of luck to her and hope this works out, for her sake.

  • Marcus

    Jeff, you forget you’re rational. Most people, especially sports fans are not. I completely agree with everything you’re saying. A fool would disagree. But there are plenty of them out there. Frankly, it’s none of anyone’s business who she or he for that matter is dating are engaged to. I feel bad for them in the sense they were able to keep their relationship mostly private. Now it’s out everywhere. Im sure Shelley Smith of ESPN is waiting to kill Solo as she loves to do. Only thing I takeaway from this is; Is it Hope Stevens? Hope Solo rolls off the tongue. Hope Stevens? ehh lol

  • http://twitter.com/ehsgirlssoccer eastlakegirlssoccer

    Minor correction to your story: “And within about an hour of this whirlwind of a story breaking, we learned that the judge in Kirkland County, Washington…..”

    FYI, there is no Kirkland County in Washington State. Kirkland is a city that lies within King County, a few miles northeast of Seattle. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkland,_Wa) If you read the Seattle Times story, you’ll note that it was Kirkland Municipal Judge Michael Lambo that ordered Stevens unconditionally released from custody at the request of his attorney, Todd Maybrown. Lambo said police had not established sufficient cause to hold Stevens. The Kirkland City Attorney’s Office had asked that Stevens be held for 72 hours while the investigation was completed. Historical note: Kirkland was home to the Seahawks for 32 years before they moved to their beautiful training facility in Renton, also on the shore of Lake Washington.

  • kamikaze

    tbh, maybe stevens didnt hurt solo, thats fine. but how about we look at his past history of legal trouble? assault, felony, DUI, most likely raped a girl. he got off on the rape charges because despite the fact many witnesses said the girl seemed drugged, and the police suspected she was given date rape drugs, the blood samples were taken too late. is this the kind of person you want marrying anyone?!

  • Guest

    “Zero” evidence of abuse is not “pretty strong language.” It is legalese and it is immensely hard to find any evidence of abuse in domestic violence situations when the “victim” is uncooperative. So don’t hang your hat on that. Second, with domestic violence there is often escalation. Yes, we don’t know what happened, only those present do, but I think what some are reacting to is actual fear for how these domestic violence situations tend to play out over and over again. If this was a guy with a clean rap sheet, I think a lot more people would agree with you. I don’t know these people and on some level I don’t really care. Soccer stars are entitled to make messed up decisions like everyone else. Is Hope Solo entitled to make her own messed up decisions? Of course, but that’s not the same as stating you’re a “hopeless romantic.”

    As a side note I’ve been to many a drunken gathering, very drunken gatherings and bar-nights with men and women, that went late into the night, and not once have I seen a man and a women get in a scuffle, and certainly not such that she was bleeding and he had blood on him. And if I did? Guess what – that’s not ok.

    • http://twitter.com/JeffKassouf Jeff Kassouf

      Yet again, not condoning any violence. That’s obvious. If I ever saw a man get into a scuffle with a woman I would intervene, too. I’ve seen next to no information on who the guests at the house were and what role they played. Major unanswered questions there (and plenty more elsewhere). Are there red flags here? Yes. But look around and you’ll see a lot of people assuming a lot of things. I prefer not to assume. Likewise, have to trust that Solo is making the right — safe — choices.

    • Guest

      I agree that the “fear of how these domestic violence situations tend to play out” is probably the biggest factor driving this story. Stevens has a bad, and possibly disgusting record. That is undeniable.

      Jeff, good job at trying to maintain a clear head. I applaud your reporting on this. But I do think that given past histories and the recent evidence that has come out (e.g., only been together for 2 months (eek!), there is decent cause for soccer fans to worry about the physical and/or mental health of the best goalkeeper in the world.

      I hope it doesn’t turn out as bad as many people are projecting. There is certainly much more PRIVATE (yes, all caps) knowledge about Monday’s incident and Solo’s wedding that we will almost certainly never hear. Nor should we.

      That said, I hope she ditches the loser and signs with PSG.

  • Ashley

    Surprise surprise, more Solo drama. I wouldn’t be so quick to jump to her defense. Yes, it’s obvious he’s scum and domestic violence is not okay in any situation. Yes, she is the by far the most talented goalkeeper in the women’s game – in the present, past and future – with unmatched athleticism. But she is an obnoxious, confrontational jerk, period. She cannot shut her mouth and I doubt she’s a completely innocent party in all this. I’ve seen other opinions say “oh, she’s just competitive” or “she’s just doing what all male athletes do”. No, there’s a big difference between competitive and jackass. And, male or female, it’s still distasteful. I agree with PAsoccerdad, anything to draw attention to herself. Her book confirms it, she is seriously screwed up. She is so talented and fun to watch during games. I just wish she were easier to like.

    • necron99

      Awesome… It didn’t take long for someone to use the “She asked for it” excuse. Good to know it isn’t just men spouting such BS.

  • Gerson22

    That’s not how we spell “judgment” in this country.

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  • Gerson22

    If it quacks like a duck, and then won’t press charges…there’s probably something there.