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Hope Solo speaks out amid rising wave of criticism

Hope Solo has a court date on her calendar. It's been there since June, the night she was arrested after a dispute with relatives turned into misdemeanor assault charges. The Nov. 4 court date had been set for two months before a tidal wave of criticism emerged last week to throw her into the far harsher court of public opinion.

The NFL’s domestic violence problem has quickly become the sports world’s domestic violence problem, and now Solo’s actions from that June night in Washington have been cast in a different light. Largely ignored during the summer's World Cup fervor, Solo has been thrown into the same category as Ray Rice, seen on video punching his then-fiancee in the face. Solo has also been mentioned in the same breath as Adrian Peterson, who readily admitted to beating his 4-year-old son with a tree branch, leaving bloody welts.

With Nov. 4 still more than a month away, Solo has been mostly quiet amid the recent outrage aimed at her continued standing on the U.S. women’s national team. Last week, she addressed criticism aimed at her following her arrest.

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“Nobody knows the truth, nobody knows the facts, people make assumptions,” Solo told Soccer By Ives in an interview last Wednesday, before the U.S. women’s team’s 4-0 win against Mexico. “But at the end of the day I know I can look at myself in the mirror and be proud of the choices I’ve made, the decisions I’ve made and my commitment to this team.

“At the end of the day, the people who really know me are the people that I have to face — and I can face them with loyalty and with a smile. Distractions aside, my one and only focus is the World Cup.”

Solo went on to credit soccer with helping her through tough times in her career, like the adversity she now faces.

“My life has been filled with distractions and the one thing that always kept me sane and focused was my competitiveness on the soccer field, my desire and my drive to win,” Solo continued. “I still have so much love for the game. I still have so much desire to win that World Cup trophy. Everything else is just chatter, to be honest — it really is.”

Solo broke her silence on Tuesday evening with a Facebook post that also addressed the recent exposure of nude photographs of celebrities, including her. She addressed that, as well as the mounting criticism toward her continuing to play despite facing criminal charges while NFL players are being suspended amid their own domestic violence cases.

“While I understand that the public desires more information regarding the allegations against me, I continue to maintain my innocence against these charges,” Solo said in a post on her Facebook fan page. “And, once all the facts come to light and the legal process is concluded, I am confident that I will be fully exonerated.”

Public sentiment has turned against her in the wake of the multiple domestic violence cases that enveloped the NFL. Solo’s case has been tossed into the same category as Rice, Peterson, Greg Hardy and Jonathan Dwyer. The big difference is those four NFL players were either already convicted (Hardy), facing felony charges (Dwyer and Peterson) or have been exposed by video evidence clearly displaying their guilt (Rice).

Solo’s case is similar to none of those, but the calls mount for her to be benched until her court case is heard. One poll conducted by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer showed 83 percent of readers believed she “had no business being on the field right now.”

In the court of public opinion, Solo has already been deemed guilty. The court case that will ultimately decide her fate is still six weeks away.