that makes one of us
It is OK to hurt a player's feelings
Today we saw reports that Greg Ryan shoved Hope Solo during an in-office discussion as to why she was benched for the 2007 World Cup semifinals. (Ryan is currently coaching women's soccer at Michigan.) The allegations appear in Solo's new book "A Memoir of Hope".
Links are here (AP Wire, via MLive) http://www.mlive.com/soccer/index.ssf/2012/08/ex-coach_says_he_didnt_shove_hope_solo_at_world_cup.html and here (AP via WashPost) http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/dcunited/former-us-womens-soccer-team-coach-says-he-didnt-shove-solo-during-meeting-at-2007-world-cup/2012/08/15/0ad2e760-e738-11e1-9739-eef99c5fb285_story.html .
According to Solo:
Solo writes that near the end of the meeting: “I had nothing left to say so I stood up to leave. Greg leaned over and pushed me back down on the couch. Hard.” Solo writes that Ryan then swore at her and told her she couldn’t leave until he said she could.
Recognizing that shoving a player is not cool (although it seems a bit of a double standard - nobody would blink if this happened between a couple of men, IMO), my sense is Solo ends up looking bad both by virtue of her own telling of the story and by her urge to relay the story in the book.
First, it's extremely disrespectful to walk out on a coach before they're done talking to you. It's absolute insubordination, and while touching a player ain't cool, I've no problem with telling the player in question to get their ass back in their seat until the coach is done talking. Shoving (if it happened) is not cool. Not allowing a sullen player to determine when a coach-player meeting is over is coaching. It seems like Solo had some growing up to do, and the players seemed (from the stories linked above) to have Ryan's back on the decision.
Second, telling this story five years after the fact seems petty. It seems like a revenge move, and if all's that at stake was pushing someone back onto a couch until you're done talking to them it seems like the sort of thing you might let go of. Solo sure wouldn't have liked a meeting with Bo.
Third, Ryan disputes the accusation - he vehemently denies Solo's story. Given Solo's apparent petulant nature, it tips my scale toward dismissing Solo's story as a bunch of sour grapes. It's a classic he-said, she-said, but Solo comes out looking bad here. Even if a coach pushed you, it was five years ago and dredging it up now seems uncool.
In any event, I'm hoping that this does not negatively impact Ryan in his position as U-M's Women's Soccer coach.