Sunday 12 February 2012

Finally Suarez and Liverpool see sense

Just when we all hoped we could move on from the Suarez/Evra racism controversy, Luis Suarez decided yesterday that he wasn't going to shake hands with Patrice Evra's before the Man Utd/Liverpool game and in doing so needlessly escalated this sorry episode.

Games between Man Utd and Liverpool already have enough edge to them without Suarez ignorantly adding to the tension that surrounded the game.

Suarez's decision led to the embarrassment of Kenny Dalglish's post match interview on Sky, in which one of British football's most respected figures ended up tarnishing his own personal reputation by trying to defend Suarez.

For Liverpool, the racism row has been an absolute PR disaster that has threatened to ruin the entire image and reputation of one of England's most iconic football clubs.

By coming out today and issuing an apology both Liverpool and Suarez have finally taken the right steps to draw a line under this issue.

Since Patrice Evra first came out and made allegations against Luis Suarez, I've been surprisingly quiet on the subject, but it's just refused to go away, and for me that's mainly due to Liverpool's mishandling of the situation.

Clearly during the first league game, both players were being verbally abusive to each other. During their altercation it's been reported that Suarez used the term/Negrito towards Evra. A commonly used term in South America which doesn't have a racist meaning and can be used as a term of endearment. The issue for me is we're not in South America, we're in England.

If you're having an abusive argument with someone, would you really be using a term of endearment towards that person? As soon Suarez used the words Negrito/Negro he was in trouble.

He was found guilty of racially abusing Evra and was banned for 8 games, You would have hoped that was the end of it, but Liverpool rather than accepting the punishment continued to make out as if Suarez and the club were the victims and not Evra, and in doing so tarnished the image of Liverpool FC.

Over the last few weeks, I've listened to a number of phone ins on Radio 5's 606 programme and heard various Liverpool fans trying to justify why Saurez has been harshly treated. I thought it was ridiculous.

As for yesterday's game, you have to ask why there needed to be a handshake between the players before the match. As Jamie Redknapp said on Sky Sports it should have been a case of not today.

Seeing as it did go ahead, Suarez should have just shaken Evra's hand which he apparently told the club he would do. By not doing so, not only did it show incredible arrogance but it undermined Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool as a whole.

No wonder after the game Alex Ferguson came out and called Suarez a 'disgrace' although I thought Fergie's comments hit the nail on the head, it was probably ill advised of him to say that when you look back on the actions of some Man Utd players over the years. Eric Cantona's infamous 'Kung Fu' Kick back in 1995 springs to mind.

As for Patrice Evra, at the end of the game he could already claim the moral high ground, but undermined himself just a little with his celebrations in front of the Stretford End.

I'm not going to be too harsh on Evra though, the abusive he took from Liverpool fans at Anfield in the FA Cup game was out of order so I can excuse his celebrations.

With the apologies now issued and Man Utd accepting the apology lets hope this really is the end of the matter.

1 comment:

  1. I think the key point here is that Evra was victim. He had every right to expect a handshake and he had every right to celebrate, although perhaps not so closely to Suarez. Any suggestion that the hand shake should have been cancelled is really a red herring, a poor substitute for displaying sportsmanship and respect. Suarez again demonstrated a lack of judgement, perhaps contributed to by the lack of judgement Liverpool FC has displayed through this whole episode.

    I thought Jamie Redknapps comment that racism isn't a big issue did nothing to stamp out the very issue which has been the front page headlines for the past few months.