Luis Suarez: Lucky or vitim or circumstance?

8 games and a fine of $62,000 is the penalty that Luis Suarez has paid for his indiscretions against Patrice Evra in a case that has taken a huge amount of time to get to the conclusion that was arrived at.
Reactions are varied as to whether he got out light, got a just sentence or as to whether the process was somewhat skewed against the immensely talented Uruguayan but whatever the view, the English FA has gone a long way into showing that racism, racist remarks, or remarks that are degrading of a players race are not welcome in the world of football.

Liverpool have argued that all it took was the word of Patrice Evra to get to the sentence that was arrived at, and if true, they are right to feel hard done by. Justice should never be arrived at on the basis of a single persons account, there must be some corroborating evidence to prove a case either for or against one party. By simply limiting it to one party’s account of what happened a bogus precedent is set and it does not take a genius to see that if this is the route that football authorities will take, that somewhere down the line they are likely to ban and fine an innocent party on false evidence.
Racism has been a thorn in every walk of life, its dark linking stain has to be severed as it remains one of human kinds worst acts. The fact that it is still existent in this day and age is a testament of how backward minded some people can be and that society as a whole needs to take more serious action if it is to be stamped out.

Regardless of what Liverpool F.C says, the fact of the matter is that the FA took a lot of time to look at this case, looked at all the pros and cons and applied a good amount of common sense while arriving to the decision.
Negrito
is the term that Luis Suarez was accused of using. In Uruguay, it is a term that is used in a positive manner but that he expected that Patrice Evra would know that staggers the imagination of most. Negro is a term that was used to demean, degrade and disgrace the black man and had been in use commonly as recently as twenty years ago. To the dismay of many, there are people that still use the term in a degrading manner.

Luis Suarez is now an adult, he is a player that has been in Europe since 2006 and it is expected that he ought to know how to carry himself and what words not to use.
A friend of mine has always joked that he has absolutely no problem with another black person calling him negro or referring to him as “my nigga”. American rap culture took a word that was unsavory for most blacks (me included) and somewhat used it as a positive, but even then, there are limits, boundaries as to how we blacks comprehend how the word or its derivative is used by different peoples. I have never had a Caucasian friend, Latino, or even Hispanic use the term negro or any derivative of the word when addressing me. They know that friends will occasionally use the word while we converse but they also recognize that there are places that they are not allowed to go regardless of how close we are. In hindsight, Luis Suarez will probably wish that he had referred to Evra as friend, pal, or used a favorable English term while addressing a fellow player from a different country and ancestry. In hindsight, he will probably come to the conclusion that his judgement was less than perfect and the term “negrito” may well be acceptable in either Spain or Portugal but not England, that he may be better served using the term while responding to an Alvaro Perreira and not a Patrice Evra, Alex Song or a Nigel Reo Cocker.

Liverpool can count themselves unlucky that the case was decided on a single player’s testimony and that there was no corroborating evidence. History has shown that when authorities want to make a point or pass new regulations and legislation’s, they will usually tend to go overboard in the process making some mistakes. The team suffered a bigger penalty than the six games I thought would have been handed out, but the pressure was there on the FA to show that their actions could back their word and intent of kicking out racism out of the English game.
There is an option to go on and appeal, but it would almost be foolhardy at this point to take that decision. Players in this day and age don’t miss drug tests because there is a deterrent, the Rio Ferdinand case was used to make a point…………..players should also look at this case and know that Suarez wasn’t banned for racist remarks, but on a lesser charge and that it will cost 8 games, it is a positive start that shows that insulting comments have no place on the planets most popular sport.

Whatever the outcome of the appeal, someone at Liverpool has to go on and make the decision that Suarez needs a talking to. He is a player so important to what they do that they cannot have him miss games on the back of either racist comments or lewd gestures. Someone has to also inform him that a reputation counts for something, had he a spotless one, he may have had the benefit of the doubt especially against Evra. This ban will probably get upheld, and at the end of the ban, Suarez has to focus on two things, a good reputation which can only come from good behavior and sportsmanlike conduct, and a realization that there are way too many people that admire him as a player, that his team depends on him and that he has massively let them down.

8 games and less than a weeks wages isn’t that bad a penalty unless you are a team that intemperately depends on his talents. Kenny Daglish and Liverpool were always going to show some public faith and stand behind their player, any club would. What they however do behind the scenes, and how other teams react to this ruling will have a bigger impact on how players interact with one another driving the game into a better direction.

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Posted on December 22, 2011, in Football Analysis. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I agree with your analysis bar one point.. there is corroborating evidence for Evra. Suarez admitted to using the term “negrito” in his interview with the Uruguayan media. So.. Evra claims it and Suarez admits it. They were the only two people who were involved, so how can people say there is no proof?

  2. I believe you have completely missed the point here. Your argument that Suarez has been in Europe since 2006 is flawed as cultural norms differ from country to country, not continent to continent.

    As a lawyer, I find it deeply disturbing that this case has been decided as one of strict liability. The fact that some would find the term ‘negrito’ racist, while others might not, shows that it is one which is contextual in nature. With that being the case, it is blindingly obvious that it should the guilt of Suarez should have been decided on intent, and not whether he actually uttered the words in question.

    In the Chinese culture, it is common for those of a certain (older) age to refer to males younger than them as ‘boy’. It is a term of endearment in the Asian culture. Let us examine two examples. First, the same older person calling an African American that in Malaysia. While the African American might very well be offended, the argument that the Asian was racist would be invalid as it was clearly meant as a term of endearment.

    Now suppose the Asian was to call the African American the same thing, only now in the US. Would the Asian be charged with racism? Surely the defense of ignorance would be acceptable, with the simple reason being that a plane flight over a body of water does not instantly imbue us with all the necessary cultural knowledge of the land upon which we are landing.

    You begin your article discussing racism, which you then point out to be contextual (the ‘nigga’ example – some would find it offensive, others not so). You then proceed to say “Suarez wasn’t banned for racist remarks”. Then what was he banned for, then? Again, I will argue that determining whether a statement is racist is based on intent, and intent can only be derived from context.

    In this case, the FA have made a very serious error in judgment.

  3. I think everyone (Joshua included) is missing the point here. Who cares if Suarez is from a different culture or not?

    You go to a country, you jolly well follow the laws, learn their culture and integrate. You play in the EPL, you jolly well abide by its rules and policies. Ignorance of the law is not a defence, and I want to point out that Suarez committed a crimminal offence which is chargeable in court; he is very fortunate to be punished by the FA only (look at Terry).

    Think of it this way: What if some savages migrate over and start their murders because they are of a different culture? Will you punish them to force them to learn the local culture and integrate? Or will you be accomodating, say “let them continue, it’s their culture, can’t be helped” and clear them of all blame? Yes, like this, they will murder again.

    I draw this parallel as racism is similar to murder in that both are chargeable offences. The guilty verdict is not derived based on how serious the charge is, but if the offence occurred or not, which was corrobated between both parties involved. The only point of contention is the sentence, especially if it was not stated explicitly before the offence was committed. That is to say, you could argue that Suarez did not deserve a ban of 8 games, but you cannot deny that he is guilty.

    In this way, it is evident that Suarez is guilty because ignorance of the law is not a defence in any society. Liverpool should count themselves lucky to avoid Suarez being charged in court instead of pushing their luck further, voicing their support for him in extreme terms, facing the wrath of anti-racism groups and maybe attract the attention of the judiciary or even the UNWCR.

    To voice support for an unfortunate player is one thing, but to voice support for a blatant, intended racist speech is another.

  4. sorry guys, was out for the holidays…..will start posting by end of the day

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