Luis Suarez has brought shame on English football

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    Manchester United and Liverpool face off this weekend in what is perhaps the greatest rivalry in world football. (AP Image)

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    “We are extremely disappointed Luis Súarez did not shake hands with Patrice Evra before yesterday’s game,” read a statement from Liverpool FC in the wake of an astonishing clash with Manchester United.

    So they should be disappointed, for Súarez has brought the game into disrepute and sullied the image of one of England’s most storied clubs.

    The build-up to his snub needs little introduction.

    The Uruguayan was handed an eight-game suspension and fined £40,000 for racially abusing United defender Patrice Evra when the two sides met at Anfield last October.

    Despite protesting his innocence, a Football Association panel found Suarez directed the Spanish version of “negro” at Evra five times – something renowned South American football expert Tim Vickery argued wasn’t necessarily racist.

    And it’s clear from Súarez’s behaviour on Saturday he felt no contrition for using those words, no matter how Evra felt about the matter.

    Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t far off the mark when he suggested the Uruguayan could have started a riot with his petulant refusal to shake Evra’s hand.

    Amid the madness was a moment of almost surreal comedy when Súarez reacted in amazement at Rio Ferdinand’s subsequent refusal to shake the Liverpool striker’s hand.

    It showed just how out of touch the Uruguayan has been with reality throughout the wretched affair.

    And his club haven’t been much better, with Liverpool only now criticising the Uruguyan for “misleading” them about his intentions to make amends in Manchester.

    Even that comes after Kenny Dalglish defended Súarez in his post-match interviews.

    It also means little in comparison to Liverpool’s reprehensible behaviour against Wigan in December, when the entire squad warmed up in matching Súarez T-shirts – a gesture Dalglish described as a show of solidarity for their striker.

    The carefully cultivated victim mentality is breathtaking.

    No longer a big club in Premier League terms, it’s as though Liverpool will stop at nothing to try and snatch away whatever piece of the limelight they can get.

    Watching Saturday’s clash with a colleague of mine, I suggested it was a shame the serious social issue of racism was being trivialised by the childish antics of a group of adults who should know better.

    “It makes for great drama though,” he replied – an assessment impossible to disagree with.

    Saturday’s Old Trafford slugfest was absorbing from start to finish.

    Watching on TV it was clear the atmosphere in the stands was at boiling point, and not surprisingly United fans did nothing to defuse the situation, with all copies of the fanzine ‘Red Issue’ confiscated by police because it contained a mock Ku Klux Klan cut-out.

    Evra and Rio Ferdinand soon clattered into each other after kick-off as both tried to poleaxe Súarez.

    A Liverpudlian then took control of the game, but sadly for Liverpool fans he was wearing a United jersey, as Wayne Rooney proved for the umpteenth time how much of a one-man team United are.

    If Rio Ferdinand was stoic before kick-off he was decidedly unheroic for the next 90 minutes, as the England defender endured another forgettable outing – capped off by the mistake which saw the hated Súarez get his goal.

    Perhaps Ferdinand had his mind on other matters, with younger brother Anton still embroiled in a racism row of his own with ex-England captain John Terry.

    There’s an interesting contrast in the coverage of both the Súarez affair and the Terry case, with the notoriously dogged English press less effusive in its condemnation of the former England skipper.

    It’s tempting to suggest Súarez is caught up in his own race-related smear campaign – the victim of a xenophobic press gang hellbent on forcing an admission of guilt.

    But whatever sympathy one might have had for the Uruguayan dissipated on Saturday.

    Faced with the chance of redemption, Luis Súarez instead brought shame on himself and English football – all in front of a global audience of millions.

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (47)

    • February 13th 2012 @ 7:26am
      Colin N said | February 13th 2012 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      “There’s an interesting contrast in the coverage of both the Súarez affair and the Terry case, with the notoriously dogged English press less effusive in its condemnation of the former England skipper.”

      Erm, maybe that’s because he hasn’t been found guilty yet, and any speculation or condemnation could undermine the case when it goes to court, and provide undue influence on the jury. I would have thought that, being a journalist, you would know about these things.

      You compare that to Suarez who wasn’t actually charged by police, received as you said yourself, embarassing backing from Liverpool with the t-shirts etc, which unsurprisingly led to criticism. By contrast, Chelsea, Anton Ferdinand and John Terry have let the police deal with it and not said in anything in public. In fact, they’re probably not allowed to talk about it until the case is actually settled.

      Agree with the general tone of the article. Interesting, though, that this statment has undermined Kenny Dalglish and his post-match comments.

      • February 13th 2012 @ 9:59am
        Will Sinclair said | February 13th 2012 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        It’s impossible to compare the Suarez and Terry cases.

        John Terry will be tried in a real Court, with things like the presumption innocence, burden of proof, penalties for giving misleading evidence… you know, the basic pillars of our justice system.

        Meanwhile, Suarez was tried in a classic kangaroo court, where certain evidence was accepted, certain evidence was rejected, and an organisation seeking to make a statement about racism in football found a convenient scapegoat.

        The whole thing has been a farce from beginning to end, and the FA has to accept some responsibility for the ridiculous process that found Suarez “guilty” of a crime for which he maintains his innocence.

        High farce.

        • Roar Pro

          February 13th 2012 @ 10:18am
          Purple Shag said | February 13th 2012 @ 10:18am | ! Report

          Farce alright. Now, I don’t like Suarez one bit – gun player but anyone who resorts to biting on the pitch and carries on like he does is not to be considered mentally stable. But let’s go out on a limb here and say that maybe what Suarez said all along is true. If that is the case, then damn right he wasn’t going to shake Evra’s hand. As for whatever reason, Evra has told some porky pies about him in a Kangaroo Court & the FA chose to believe him & not Suarez & hence he’s sat on the pine for 8 games.

          Now, whose to say what Suarez said could even be the truth. Well, apart from there being no camera evidence to back up anything Evra is saying, if you read what Suarez said happened (in the initial beef) and watch the footage it back up his version of events.

          Then I read a really interesting article from a south american linguists expert on the liverpool website. They have taken it down (i’m guessing as part of accepting the charge) but there is a copy of it here. Very interesting reading to say the least

          Sure, moving on is one thing. But if your cross town rival has painted you as someone your not, then where is the motivation to shake hands and accept that everything that has happened is okay?

          • February 13th 2012 @ 11:50am
            TomC said | February 13th 2012 @ 11:50am | ! Report

            Plenty has already been said by Suarez and his club about the incident and the suspension. I don’t think anyone would’ve taken Suarez’s participating in the handshake as ‘accepting that everything is okay’.

            • February 13th 2012 @ 1:26pm
              Brian said | February 13th 2012 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

              I disagree. I like many around the world pre-Saturday followed the incident loosely. I knew Suarez was charged and suspended. If he had shaken Evra’s hand he would basically be accepting his guilt.

              I’m not a Liverpool or Urguay supporter but if somone had defamed me I certainly wouldn’t shake their hand. Shaking hands per-game is about fairness and respect. Suarez should not be forced to do so when he feels neither towards Evra.

              • Roar Rookie

                February 13th 2012 @ 3:36pm
                Sharminator said | February 13th 2012 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

                My thoughts exactly Brian .. its like if you meet your ex-boss after he has fired you …. or your ex-wife who has just taken you to the cleaners.

                If you think someone lied to a judiciary about you, causing you to lose income and not play the sport you love, obviously you are not going to be happy, and cant be expected to shake hands or respect the person who caused this (and who by the way has a terrible record of lying about other incidents and also being a ring leader of the France world cup debacle).

                Have a look at Evra prancing around after the game .. he was baiting Suarez .. trying to get a reaction ..for tme that was 100 times worse than not shaking hands.

    • February 13th 2012 @ 8:11am
      UK Steve said | February 13th 2012 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      Mike, regarding the Ferguson riot comment, where would the riot have broken out? The players or the fans? I really can’t work that comment out.

      I agree that it would have been better if Suarez did shake Evra’s hand, but I guess he feels that he has been hard done by. Getting an eight game suspension for an accusation that he feels he is innocent of.

      One other thing I can’t work out is why do journalists think it was so wrong that Liverpool wore those Suarez t-shirts in the warm-up against Wigan. They thought their man was innocent, so they backed him all the way. Seems to me that because its a racism issue, journalists feel that to side with the accused in anyway, could be perceived is a reflection of their own views.

      • February 13th 2012 @ 9:15am
        Antonio said | February 13th 2012 @ 9:15am | ! Report

        What ever happen to innocent till proven guilty in a court of law?

        • Roar Rookie

          February 13th 2012 @ 3:38pm
          Sharminator said | February 13th 2012 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

          My thoughts exactly .. Suarez has a black grandfather and coloured father, I mentioned the Spanish language factor down below .. Evra has a poor record, having been found guilty and banned previously for an incident with a groundsman at Chelsea! Everyone seemed to side with Evra for fear of being called racist if they didnt instead of simply looking at facts .. the same goes for what happened yesterday. All the focus in on Suarez and nothing on Evra …

          • February 13th 2012 @ 10:10pm
            Colin N said | February 13th 2012 @ 10:10pm | ! Report

            “Evra has a poor record, having been found guilty and banned previously for an incident with a groundsman at Chelsea!”

            And Suarez has been banned for biting someone. Also, remember Suarez’s ‘hand of god’ in the World Cup quarters where he revelled in his cheating?

            “Everyone seemed to side with Evra for fear of being called racist if they didnt instead of simply looking at facts.”

            Well, the only facts we have to go on are what the FA released in their report which was pretty damning. I know you can’t take it as face value, but were you in the meeting? You are drawing your owns facts without knowing them yourself and instead condemning Evra for being called, in England, a racist term.

            Now, this is the bit I don’t understand, the people condeming Evra saying he lied. The one thing in this case that is certain: Evra did not lie.

            The bloke was called, and this has been admitted by Suarez, ‘negrito,’ which is a racist term in this country, so Evra has every right to be offended. Whether the meaning was lost in translation is up to the FA decide, but in the heat of battle, it’s hardly going to be a friendly conversation, is it?

            Now stop going on this crusade.

            • February 13th 2012 @ 11:12pm
              Colin N said | February 13th 2012 @ 11:12pm | ! Report

              “I know you can’t take it as face value, but were you in the meeting?”

              Sorry, that should say: “you don’t have to take it at face value.”

    • February 13th 2012 @ 9:29am
      CrossIT said | February 13th 2012 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      So should someone tell Wayne Bridge he brought shame upon Man City/EPL/England/Human Civilisation because he didn’t shake Terrys hand?

      I would like to see that.

    • February 13th 2012 @ 9:41am
      TomC said | February 13th 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      Good article, Mike.

    • February 13th 2012 @ 10:02am
      Will Sinclair said | February 13th 2012 @ 10:02am | ! Report

      Watching the game on TV I was disgusted to hear the thousands and thousands of fans chanting in celebration at the deaths of 96 innocent football fans at Hillsborough all those years ago.

      And yet we see pages and pages of comments branding some bloke a disgrace for refusing to shake hands with another bloke.

      Honestly – the world has officially gone completely mad.

      • Roar Guru

        February 13th 2012 @ 10:13am
        The Cattery said | February 13th 2012 @ 10:13am | ! Report

        Yeh – move on – it’s no big deal – both players are prats anyway.

      • February 13th 2012 @ 2:26pm
        ilikedahoodoogurusingha said | February 13th 2012 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

        Hardly surprising though as The Kop has regularly sung “Who’s that lying in the snow” referring to the 1958 plane crash…….what goes around comes around.

        Not condoning it by any means, but its not unusual in EPL crowds.

    • February 13th 2012 @ 10:11am
      Col said | February 13th 2012 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      Mike, no mention of Evra’s reaction to the snub or of his post match antics in front of Suarez and the Liverpool supporters. Does this mean you condone them?

      • Roar Guru

        February 13th 2012 @ 10:15am
        The Cattery said | February 13th 2012 @ 10:15am | ! Report

        Thanks for the reminder – I made a comment on the other thread that what the winners and losers do at the end of the game is probably more important than some perfunctory handshake at the start of the game.

        Sir Alex Ferguson had the good sense to say straight out that what Evra did at the end of the game was wrong, and yes, arguably worse than what Suarez did.

        Anyway, they’re both prats.

      • Roar Guru

        February 13th 2012 @ 10:40am
        Roarchild said | February 13th 2012 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        The fact Ferguson and Ferdinand admitted Evra was wrong to do that goes a long way.

        Dalglish initially kept supporting his man though, which isn’t the worst thing to do but means that Suarez actions are the story.

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