Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Suarez/Evra incident - some thoughts

I've kept quiet so far about this whole Suarez/Evra issue, waiting for the final verdict and evidence to come out in order to grasp fully what I really think of the matter. Here are my thoughts on the whole thing:

      1.       This is my personal opinion. If you don’t agree with it, you’re welcome to leave comments. Please when reading this, think first and foremost as a human being. As a person who doesn’t accept racism (not unless you do). This has nothing to do with Manchester United or Liverpool and the rivalry that exists between both clubs. It has to do with racism. One person being accused of racism versus another, on a football pitch. Please, think of it like that before leaving abusive comments. If you want to leave comments, do so in a sensible manner.

      2.       If any of us, living in a civilized society where racism is not tolerated, used any term in our workplace that was deemed racist or derogatory by the person receiving it, would we still be accepted at our jobs if a complaint was made by the recipient?

      3.       No evidence I hear you say? What about if the person accused of using the term, confirms that he actually used the term but that in his country it means something else – would that be a valid argument knowing that: a) when the incident occurred, he wasn’t in his country; b) the person he’s said it to, doesn’t come from the same country or region; c) the word he’s used is commonly accepted as a racist term in pretty much every anglo-speaking nation in the world (and England is an anglo-speaking nation by the way, just in case you didn’t know).

      4.       Now getting to the difference in points of view – which I’m sure Liverpool fans are going to deny, given some of their reactions to this entire case. According to the FA report, in his defense, Luis Suarez claims he uses the term “negro” with some of his team-mates, notably Glen Johnson. If that was the case, couldn’t Johnson or anyone else at the club for that matter have told him that it is considered a racist comment? He’s been at the club for a year now, surely someone could have mentioned it during that entire time.

      5.       Being a racist is one thing, using a racist term is another. There is a difference. Suarez has been accused of the latter, but many people around the footballing world can’t seem to understand the difference between both.

      6.       This is an unprecedented move by the F.A to ban a player for 8 matches for the use of a racist term on a Football pitch. With that in mind, if the F.A want to keep any sort of credibility, they must remain consistent and for every player accused of racism, the punishment has got to be similar, or worse.

      7.       In the heat of the moment, footballers say a lot of nonsense. We all know that. But to repeat a comment over and over and over again, knowing that it is angering an opposing player surely must mean that it was done intentionally. I’m sure all of us who play football can confirm that often, in a competitive game, we would use words to rile up opponents. So why on earth would he say the word “negro” if not to irritate Evra? What was the intention of using that particular word? Not once, but a reported seven times. He could have called him “shorty” or “slow” or “rubbish” or any other term – but he chose to call him “negro”. Why?

      8.       According to the FA report, Suarez claims “there is no word that means “nigger” in Spanish and I was not aware of this word until the allegations made by Mr Evra.” Fair enough, if that is his reasoning, why not apologize then? At no point has an apology been made. Can you imagine if, following the incident and the claim by Evra, Suarez had simply said “I didn’t know that ‘negro’ was a racist term. I apologize if it was taken in such a manner, I didn’t mean for it to be offensive”, or something along those lines, how this entire mess could have been avoided? But instead, he has fought to prove he’s innocent, when apologizing for a misunderstanding in the cultural sense of a word – could have saved himself, and his club, a lot of trouble.

      9.       Didn’t Suarez himself say something along the lines of “whatever the outcome, someone is going to have to apologize”?

      10.   One thing that I have found a bit poor are the statements that have come out from Liverpool F.C. This is a football club with a history so rich and some traditions so strong, that other rival fans sometimes look in envy at what they’ve achieved, and yet for something as serious as this – a racist comment – their comments have been, to say the least, out of order.

      11.   Liverpool fans ridiculed Fernando Torres for recently saying something like: “if only the fans knew what really happened” regarding his transfer to Chelsea and that he preferred not to say; Kenny Daglish’s comments are no different with “it is unfortunate that you don’t actually know the whole content of what went on. I am not prepared and I cannot say.”

      12.   Let me repeat this loud and clear – Luis Suarez is not being charged for being a racist. He is being charged for the use of a racist term. “Negro” is a racist term. He is an employee in England, paying English taxes, it does not matter what it means in Uruguay. In England, it's a racist term.

I know Twitter isn’t the best place in the world to look for evidence about anything in this world, but if anything it’s a place where everyone has got their say. We find idiots on there and we find decent people. For this case though, I’ve been shocked by the amount of nonsense I’ve found from some Liverpool fans on Twitter and elsewhere. I know that not all Liverpool fans are like this. I’m pretty sure all true Liverpool fans would never support such comments. I am friends with many people who support the club and for that matter I respect their views, even if I don’t agree with them; but when it comes to racism and other serious matters – that should go beyond the tinted specs we wear when supporting our clubs – we should expect them to behave better than this.



  1. I'm not going to reply to most of the points in this post because I disagree with the majority of it and I'm tired of debating this issue, but I'd like to point out something that you posted at the very end.

    I'm not sure how you can compare the issue with Torres & Dalglish. Torres can speak his mind and not get in trouble with the FA or Chelsea, he'd be discussing a team he's left. Dalglish can't do the same because the FA could charge him and the team, which he mentioned and is a part of the interview you chose to leave out.

    And the Twitter thing, was it really necessary? People who comment on Twitter are as bad or worse than people who leave comments on Youtube videos or some football forums. Twitter is easy to use and a lot of stupid people will use it, thankfully they're easy to deal with (ignore, block). Majority of the time you won't find these kind of comments unless you're actively looking for them.

  2. I'm merely pointing out the fact that what LFC fans were ridiculing a few weeks ago, is what the rest will be ridiculing soon.

    As for the Twitter thing - they're all over the place. It doesn't stop at Twitter. Facebook, blogs, forums; the full-support of Suarez no matter what has shown some ugly reactions.

  3. Liverpool fans had a reason to ridicule Torres because there's nothing with-holding him from speaking his mind, and he's said similar things in past interviews, but is yet to reveal anything. Dalglish on the other hand has a reason to stay quiet and if other fans can't understand that and differentiate, than they have larger issues to worry about (ignorance).

    The more popular Liverpool fan pages on Facebook are clean of that trash; and this sort of reaction is to be expected when rival clubs are involved. You can say that this issue is larger than that, but it won't always be viewed that way, I'm sure that if the roles were reversed and Evra had allegedly said something racially abusive to Suarez. It's what we have to deal with when two huge rivals are involved like this.

  4. Daglish can speak his mind. What's the worst that could happen? He'd get a ban for a couple of games?

    It's the same as when he said refs had something in for them, at the start of the season when he criticized them. Nothing stopped him from speaking his mind back then.

    The issue is much larger than that, no matter what anyone says, people like you and I know that.

    I do agree, I'm very sure there are trashy Manchester United fans out there as well, just like at every club, but in light of the Suarez verdict, these were the reactions. If indeed there were such comments by United fans, it would be posted everywhere, and I'd be the first to point out and agree that such comments are unacceptable and pathetic.

  5. There's difference between criticizing a referee and criticizing an organization. He spoke his mind about the ref's, got a meeting with the head of the association of referees (or whatever they're called) and everything was sorted out, cleanly and intelligently. What's the point of getting banned for a couple of games if what he says ultimately won't make a difference for Suarez and his ban?

    I'm not saying I agree with the way Liverpool handled this situation, but I also don't agree with the way the FA handled it either and I definitely don't agree with the outcome of the trial. For a player to get banned so many games solely based on hear-say is not the proper way to go about things.

    Hopefully some good will come out of this situation, in the end, consistency is what matters.

  6. Most managers, if I'm not mistaken, fear speaking about refs for the simple reason that they will get banned. Daglish did it, and got to discuss with the FA and whatever the refs panel is called. He could speak his mind here or something.

    It's extremely refreshing to see a few LFC fans admitting that the situation wasn't handled well by the club.

    Let's see what'll happen with John Terry in the coming month. It has to be a similar, or worse, charge.

  7. I agree with you Supernova.
    What's more Liverpool fan and Times Editor Tony Evans agrees with you.

    Liverpool have handled this all wrong. It has been a PR disaster, one that won't go away for a long time. LFC need to do something to address the situation - they could start by apologising.

  8. @James - the good thing is that there are some LFC fans like Tony Evans and Patrick, who are sensible enough to admit that their club handled the matter wrongly. It could have been done very differently.

  9. It could have been done very differently, but they got it all wrong. As I commented at the time, LFC left themselves backed into a corner with no way back. I cannot believe how many stupid/blinkered fans there are out there.

  10. I m sure Evra called Suarez a fag

  11. Suarez has been found guilty of racial abuse. Fine. He has been found guilty because he used the word 'negro'. Fine. But this as Evra well knows, is the Spanish word for 'black'. Evra does not think he has been called a 'negro' or 'nigger'. So why do you? Please stop repeating the lie. Not supporting Suarez, just asking for accuracy.

  12. @Anonymous: So calling someone "black" a repeated number of times is fine by you? Saying to someone "black, black, black, black" - has no racial connotation behind it? If not only to anger Evra - as I mentioned above in point 7.

    Also, what do you think John Terry is being charged for then? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's for calling Anton Ferdinand a "black cunt". I don't see the word "nigger" anywhere in that slur and he's being charged. Calling someone by the color of their skin is not acceptable.

    Also, there is no need to deny your support of Suarez. It's only fair if you do.

  13. Yea so what, Suarez was just merely reminding Evra of the color of his skin... Blacky blacky blacky... Or giving a reason for kicking him...When evra said, "bloody fucking hell why did u kick me", Suarez simply replied because u are black...What's so racist about that...
    In case anyone is wondering, yes this is sarcasm

  14. Oh and the last comment is a different anonymous from the one up above secretly supporting suarez...

  15. I'd like to address your point 3. Suarez was speaking Spanish on a UK football pitch. The Spanish word "negro" has some very different meanings to the English word (including positive meanings). The listener CANNOT mistake it for its primarily abusive English use, since the speaker is speaking *Spanish*. There's an issue of education here (not of racism) - that words which sound the same in different languages can have fundamentally different meanings.

    See also my blog piece on the Suarez/racism issue:

  16. lol newsframe...and what does blacky blacky blacky mean... hes just reminding him hes black?
    What cultural meaning does this have in south america? hey blacky blacky blacky...It's Either Suarez is calling him a dog, or a nigger... Well ur right it might not be racist after all, he might be Speciesism. (check wikipedia for that)

  17. it might be speciesism**

  18. Read the report before commenting and don't lose sight that this was not a court of law but a panel chosen by the FA to make a decision on this incident and after all the publicity caused by this case the FA had to find Suarez guilty, they found him guilty because he admitted using the term negro once and no matter what context of the use of the word was taken into consideration. If anyone thinks justice was done read this article and think again, would you be happy to be branded a racist on the evidence the FA had.

  19. so mr evra talks in spanish to mr suarez about his sisters fanny,even though he is french an playing in england.... so are you saying that if a player plays his football in england he must speak in english? the press reported that louis suarez was a racist..patrice evra said that he wasnt!