CHICAGO (AP) - U.S. women's goalkeeper Hope Solo was suspended Wednesday for six months by U.S. Soccer for disparaging comments about Sweden following the Americans' early departure from the Rio Olympics.
Solo called the Swedes "a bunch of cowards" for focusing on defense rather than attacking the three-time defending champion U.S. team. Sweden ousted the U.S. 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw in a quarterfinal match.
U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said Solo's comments were "unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players."
"Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect," Gulati said. "We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions."
The 35-year-old Solo, who was previously suspended for 30 days early in 2015 for her conduct, will not be eligible for selection to the national team until February.
Solo was a lightning rod during the Olympic tournament, irking fans in Brazil when she posted a photo of herself covered with mosquito netting and armed with insect repellant on social media. Fans booed her mercilessly and hollered "Zika!" each time she kicked downfield.
The she caused a stir with her "cowards" comment.
Sweden's coach Pia Sundhage, who led the U.S. team to gold medals in Beijing and London, replied by stating: "It's OK to be a coward if you win."
Solo has been making headlines throughout her career.
She's vocally advocated for women's rights. Solo was among the U.S. players who filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for wage discrimination, saying the men's national team players have been paid much more than many on the women's team, which for years has out-performed the U.S. men on the international stage.
More recently, she's called for better conditions for players in the National Women's Soccer League.
She has also been trying to avoid a trial on misdemeanor domestic violence charges after a 2014 incident at her sister's home, when the goalkeeper was accused of being intoxicated and assaulting her sister and 17-year-old nephew. Solo said she was a victim in the altercation. Earlier this year, an appeals court in Washington state rejected Solo's request to avoid trial.