February 15th, 2012
11:13 AM ET

Can Liverpool salvage the Suarez saga?

The Luis Suarez race abuse situation has finally been addressed by Liverpool's American owners. (Getty Images)
The Luis Suarez race abuse situation has finally been addressed by Liverpool's American owners. (Getty Images)

Better late than never. That is the nicest thing I can say about Liverpool FC’s efforts to take the right stance regarding the Luis Suarez race row.

If you take a look back at what the English club, its manager and players have said and done ever since Suarez racially abused Patrice Evra in a Premier League match back in October, it is quite simply a PR disaster.

From the initial decision not to apologize to the Manchester United player, to the wearing of t-shirts to support Suarez, to Kenny Dalglish’s insistence on standing up for his player even after he was charged by the English Football Association, they got everything wrong.

Let me make one thing clear. I don’t think Suarez is racist. The fact he called Evra "negro" and “negrito” ("little black guy") doesn’t make him automatically guilty of prejudice.

In South America, that is a normal term to describe someone of color. As a matter of fact, in Brazil, some players’ nick-names actually refer directly to the color of their skin. For example, “Negao” (big black guy) or “Pretinha” (small black girl) are how a beach soccer national team player and a women’s national team football player are officially known respectively. 

However, even if Liverpool believed Suarez wasn’t racist, and that he did not mean any harm, they should have been sensitive to the fact Evra did not share the same view. And if you look at the match footage, which at one stage shows Suarez pinching the skin of Evra's arm, it is obvious that the Uruguayan was purposefully winding up his opponent.

If the France international was upset or hurt by the term, Liverpool should have made the player apologize. My feeling is if Luis had said he was sorry, the Reds could have avoided this storm of negative publicity entirely.

So why did the Anfield club finally change its stance and decide to issue apologies on Sunday from Suarez and Dalglish? In my mind there is only one reason for that – the owners told them to do it.

The fact that Suarez’s refusal to shake Evra’s hand had made the New York Times newspaper meant Liverpool’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group, couldn’t avoid it anymore. It surprises me they took this long to catch on, but I am glad they finally did. Otherwise, we may still have been waiting for an apology right now.

Furthermore, even if the club is denying it received pressure from its sponsors - such as the team's shirt endorser Standard Chartered - to change its tune, there is no question the bosses at the club felt the “money men” breathing down their necks.

Suarez cannot be defended for his childish demeanor throughout the ordeal, but I put more responsibility on Dalglish’s shoulders. As an experienced man in the world of football, he should have known better.

He should have known that putting his head in the sand would not make the problem go away. It is my opinion that his job is now in peril. In addition to the team doing poorly on the field, he will have to answer to his aggressive and backwards attitude off it.

How do I expect this saga to end? Honestly, I think Dalglish will be sacked at the end of this season and Suarez - for all his undoubted onfield talents - will be sold to a foreign club. Liverpool cannot afford to continue to be haunted by this story in the future, and that will happen while the Uruguayan forward is still at Anfield.

Liverpool is too classy an institution to have its name continually dragged through the mud. The owners know this, and one day the fans will see it too. No matter how much they love their players and their manager, they still have to be able to tell what is right and what is wrong.

Posted by ,
Filed under:  Football
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Paul Scrivener

    Hi Pedro, this is the first time I have read one of your articles, & I think you are way off the mark with some of your views. I agree to some extent that LFC haven't handled parts of the situation ideally but it has been blown out of all proportions by the media. Yes your right Luis Saurez is not a racist & the word he said to Evra is used as a term of endearment in Suarez' native county, but having said that you also state he pinched Evra to wind him up...so what, don't you think this happens all the time in sport. Look at the photo of Vinnie Jones grabbing Gazza by the 'short & curlies'. Winding up an opponent happens in all sports, haven't you watched the 'weigh ins' for a Boxing match. Ali used to wind up his opponents before, during & after the fight.

    Kenny Dalglish will not be sacked at the end of the season, & as for Liverpool selling Suarez., well that remains to be seen. The Anfield faithful will not enjoy the thought of either man leaving the club. Manchester United have a lot to blame in this matter too, Alex Ferguson has tried his usual trick of attempting to unsettle a rival club & player. Luis Suarez is the most exciting & gifted footballer in The Premiership & it galls Ferguson that he is wearing the red of Liverpool & not the red of Manchester United.

    February 15, 2012 at 11:34 am | Reply
  2. Uztaz Raheem

    Suarez have nothing wrong.. Overall media have made him as scapegoat.. Evra n Fergie os jealous of Suarez capability n made him as victim.

    February 15, 2012 at 11:50 am | Reply
  3. Jim

    The English press has engaged in the biggest smear I can recall. It started with the Ghana handball and has continued since.

    If Evra is the English idea of a hero, then boy you guys have completely jumped off the tracks. Suarez is a winner. Semifinals at the World Cup, Copa America champions, and MVP of the Copa America.

    Evra helped France in their mutiny against the coaching staff in what was one of the most embarrassing WC exits in recent history.

    Suarez will continue on in the EPL and will help take Liverpool back to the top.

    Evra is on the downhill side of his career.

    Ferguson is afraid of Suarez' potential to make life harder for Manchester United, who I have come to despise.

    I only wish the United Staes had a player of Suarez' talent and passion on our national team. I wouldn't have Evra on our team under any circumstances.

    February 15, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
  4. David Van Spall

    You have missed this completely!
    The apologies were made to no one in particular, they were merely offered as an apology for not shaking Evra's hand (from Suarez) and from Dalglish the apology was bullying the interviewer from Sky Sports.

    So again there has been no apology from Suarez to Evra nor indeed from Dalglish to Evra, lets not forget he made spurious allegations about Evra's previous actions which were wrong.

    LFC and the owners need to take a hard look at their lack of contrition and be aware that this will still not go away despite these weak and spoon fed apologies.

    February 15, 2012 at 11:59 am | Reply
  5. collie

    The writer of this article clearly has no awareness of the strength of support of the Liverpool fans for both Suarez and Dalglish. I suggest he finds a way to get to the match at Anfield this Sunday against Brighton in the FA Cup. and experience first-hand the tumultuous reception each gets

    February 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  6. Greg

    You seem to forget that they were BOTH trying to wind each other up, Evra made some rather offensive comments himself.

    He was upset because he mistakenly thought when Suarez said negro it meant n*****. This was the crux of the initial problem as after the accusation was wrongly made, and later retracted, that Suarez had called him n*gger five times the battle lines were quickly drawn up.

    This is something people all to easily forget and goes a long way to explain LFC's entrenched position. They haven't made things easy for themselves though.

    The worst thing Suarez could have done though was not shake the Evra's hand on Saturday after letting the club believe he would.
    Whether by design or rash impulse this act then betrayed all the support he has received. Kenny Dalglish was made to look foolish.

    What is very interesting though is that KD's initial claim he didn't see what happened with the handshake (given where he was at the time) was then widely pounced on and derided by the media as he obviously knew by the time of the post match interview what had happened, and indeed he immediately then told SKY interviewer Geoff Shreeves "I'll take your word for it".

    ....BUT when Sir Alex did EXACTLY the same in his post match interview by initially claiming he hadn't seen Evra's highly provocative and manic jumping around Suarez at the end of the game, which was impossible to miss, this was simply ignored altogether by the media. Hardly seems fair but then this whole process hasn't been and it only adds to what had obviously become something of a siege mentality at LFC.

    This is hopefully being readdressed now, starting with those apologies. Also to be clear...the club have clearly stated it was MD Ian Ayre who insisted on the apologies being issued, not FSG's owners.

    February 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  7. Ian

    You know nothing at all about Liverpool FC if you think Dalglish will be sacked over this. The man is a legend idolised by the fans. For the owners this would be a PR disaster far worse than the one we are currently in when there own fans turn against them and they will. I don't think the new owners want to go down the path of the previous owners, they seem too astute for that. It remains to be seen what will happen with Suarez although an automatic sale is not a certainty. Dalglish more than anyone has been let down most by Suarez and he will be the one to decide if he is to stay, not the owners.
    As for a personal apology to Evra , don't hold your breath for that to happen . Suarez did apologise at the time, publicly , for any offence he caused and that should be enough.

    February 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  8. helen macklin

    The only thing I agree with in this article is that it is a PR disaster for LFC. Suarez was convicted on 'probability' alone, because there was NO evidence whatsoever, it was just one man's word against the other's. Read the 115-page report, it has more holes in it that Blackburn, Lancashire.

    Also, neither Suarez nor LFC have apologised to either man u or evra, because they still maintain his innocence of the trumped-up charges against him.
    The apology after the weekend game was to the supporters/manager/club/owners/sponsors for the fiasco caused by putting Suarez in that vulnerable position to begin with, and the fallout from it, when he (understandably) couldn't go through with the handshake.

    Luis pleaded not guilty, was convicted and punished, but that's where it ends. You cannot force a man who believes he is innocent to say sorry. It is against his human rights.

    LFC will NOT be selling him, don't be silly, neither will they sack Kenny Dalglish. He's made mistakes, yes, but he's the best thing that has happened to this club in a long, long time, and man u manager alex ferguson knows this. You get my drift?

    Attention-seeker evra has milked the media furore, but he hasn't got what he wanted – a grovelling apology from the man whose football career in England he has tried to wreck – and he never will. And that really annoys him. Suarez will go on to become a Liverpool legend, while evra will sink into oblivion, with only a history of race accusations, national team shame and a chip on his shoulder, trailing behind him.

    February 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  9. alehandro

    Great article. I share the view that Suarez may not be a racist, but his use of a term that's acceptable in his homeland but not in England is no excuse. When in Rome do as the Romans do and ignorance of the law or mores of the land is no defense. So, he was rightly punished and Liverpool and their fans should have accepted that. Unfortunately, Kenny Dalglish did not and brought no credit on himself or the club with his barbed and disingenuous comments. The Reds season will be a failure if they don't make the Champions League, whatever happens in the Cups, but if the manager is sacked I believe it will be for generating bad PR for a great club which, ironically, hails from a city boasting as multi-cultural a population as any in the land. Dalglish can have no complaints about that. Suarez can live and learn but Kenny should have known better, and his failure to respond to the crisis in a seemly and diplomatic manner has left him looking completely out of touch.

    February 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  10. victor

    i think the above righter is geting it most rong in some aspect of this matter,If i were Suarez and Daglish,i wont have apologised, because there is alot of evil going on in that old traford which know body complain about, why the isuee of suarez we now be a topic of the day? .Look at the footage of the incident more closely and you will clearly see it was Evra who withdrew his hand first.Besides that the way Evra grabbed Suarez`s arm constitutes a form of assault.Could you also explain why Rio Ferdinand refused to shake Suarez hand? The English FA are racist and corrupt and the media are to blame for most of this. Suarez really didn`t need to apologise for not shaking Evra`s hand as he was not the guilty party in this.Evra and Ferdinand should be doing the apologising
    Wayne Rooney, sleeping with a prostitute, swearing into a TV camera. Ryan Giggs, sleeping with his brother's wife. Rio Ferdinand, avoiding a drugs test. Alex Ferguson, banned for abusing the referee. Eric Cantona, violently assaulting a supporter during a game. Roy Keane, deliberately destroyed Alf Inge Halland's knee in a pre-meditated assault.have they hand them over to the poblic to apologise they should keep there mouth shout and apologise to suarez too,alex ferguson and his team

    February 15, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  11. Sean

    Some terrible journalism here, a lot of assumptions and not a lot of facts.

    While it's clear Suarez was winding Evra up this in itself is not a crime, pinching Evra's skin may have been Suarez explaining 'I am not calling you a negro I am saying your skin is negro'. In fairness, I doubt this and think Suarez is in the wrong but no one should be prosecuted on assumptions. This is not how a democratic and fair society works and sets a terrible precedent for the game that is open to sinister abuse by opponents.

    Also Dalgleish being sacked is silly, such a rash judgement does not make for sustainable business. The manager has stood by his man, rightly or wrongly that is all he has done. He has not done anything racist just mis-judged. No one should be sacked for that, not when a apology is given.

    Once again assumptions on the sponsors caused the apologies. More likely Ian Ayre has had word with Kenny, giving him feedback and making him understand the error. This is what good management is. Dalgeish has said in the past how in the past he needed a good board behind him to allow him to focus on the football, this is Ian Ayre stepping up.

    As for Suarez leaving, not on this incident alone. Other players have done far worse and he is young, he should learn from his mistakes and grow from this. If he doesn't learn, well yes then a transfer should be considered.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  12. RichERich

    Luis never should apologize to Evra. He did nothing wrong. I would hope that people like you writing an article would at least read the FA report in full beforehand. Evra by his own admission misunderstood the word negro (which has no negative connotation in Uruguay and definitely not racist) to mean the N word. He admits to it in the damned report. It should have been case closed. Since he had made the accusation he couldn't go back and made up the rest. You also write:
    "If the France international was upset or hurt by the term, Liverpool should have made the player apologize. My feeling is if Luis had said he was sorry, the Reds could have avoided this storm of negative publicity entirely."
    How can you apologize for a misunderstanding on someone else's part???
    Also how can you apologize to someone who embellished and fabricated the rest of the story to hurt the other player's reputation through falsehoods? I may know something worse than racism. False accusations.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  13. Cage70

    The report is exhaustive and clearly proves the charge. It's this context that makes snubbing Evra look so appalling.
    To clarify though, the pinching, done to wind Evra up, was not judged to have broken any rule, but as evidence that Suarez lied when he said it was done to defuse the situation.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  14. daley

    Have you read the FA report? Can you explain when actually Evra recognized that Suarez did not use the N***r word as Evra originally suggested? Did Evra wake uop one m,orning to realize that? Or, more realistically, it took a hell of coaching from the FA committe to make him aware of that?
    Disgusting to see that you also decided to jump on the bandwagon of witch-hunters.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  15. Jono

    Firstly, they didn't apologise for the remark – they apologised for the (non) handshake. There has been no apology for the remark.

    Secondly, Evra may well have taken offence.

    But anyone accused of being racist (or a thief, or a muderer, etc) shouldn't have to apologise – being accused and being guilty are two very different things. Apologising is like acknowledging guilt, which is unfair is you are merely accused.

    The FA made the most spurious case imaginable. It was one person's word against another. No video. No witnesses. They chose Evra's word over Suarez – and he becomes labelled guilty in a case that would have been thrown out of court.

    No wonder Suarez is furious enough at the FA and Evra to not want to shake hands.

    But for the media – reporting anything other than Suarez being wrong opens them up to accusations of being sympathetic with racism. Much easier to condemn.

    A sad state of affairs.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  16. r anderson

    Hi Pedro

    Maybe you would be better giving a balanced view of what actually happened. Both players were winding each other up, Suarez reported the Evra make rude remarks about his sister and called him a "south American". Suarez was accused of using the vile N word. Evra later retracted this allegation and stated himself he made a mistake and in his opinion Suarez was not a racist.
    Why did the British FA continue with the case? Thats the question everybody is asking. It is illegal to use racist words in the UK, If Suarez is guilty of racism then why has he not been charged by the police and brougth to court? A quango or kangaroo court was set up, who are these guys are they qualified to make decisions that effect a young mans good man and career. If this happened in the US I think the law suit lawyers would be queuing up to take a case on Suarez's behalf.
    There was no TV evidence and no witness to what was said by both players. Suarez said he didnt use the N word and Evra later agreed. How is Evra a victim and Suarez is now labelled racist? There is no case to answer, when Evra agreed he had misheard what was said, the matter should have been dropped.
    The British FA and media needed a fall guy, Suarez fits the bill, he is young and is not British. The entire british media should hang its head in shame, they should take a long hard look at themselves.
    The owners of Liverpool should stand firm behind their men and not let themselves be bullied by Ferguson and his ilk.
    John Barnes is a Liverpool legend and is the only person speaking any sense in the media. If you read this then take a look at what John Barnes says, he played for Liverpool 20 years ago, rival fans used to throw bananas at him and not a word was said by the British media or the British FA, thats is a total disgrace.
    Louise Suarez should be allowed to ply his trade without any blemish on his name, Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish should not made to look bad for trying to protect an innocent man.

    YNWA

    February 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  17. Pravo

    Dalglish should be let go at the end of the season. LFC are 21 points of man city in the league after just 25 games and their highest goalscorer is Bellamy with only 6 goals. Considering all the money that KD has spent on players since his arrival and the Suarez debacle, it has not been a successful return to Anfield. But a good run in the domestic cup competitions will cover up the cracks and most LFC supporters will still believe that king kenny is the man to take them to the mountaintop...

    February 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  18. Chambers

    Way way off the facts in a lot you say! and by the way Evra is not a France international – He was dropped for his causing unrest and upset in the squad and taking the players on strike. He has and will continue to use "the race card" for as long as he can. It works for him and his club! It impresses me just how far lies can get one... but ain't that the truth in this world? It ain't Hollywood as they say.

    February 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply
  19. Jimmy

    Evra started the whole thing by insulting Suarez 2 times in Spanish.
    Evra is the instigator. Evra made a sexually vulgar statement to Suarez about his sister and a derogatory reference to sudaca.
    Why does the media not mention that – when it is commone knowledge. Plus chek out the Evra video where he uses the N word himself with AS Monaco. FA Panel was biased and wanted a scapegoat...

    February 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  20. denis

    Cage 70 You say "The report is exhaustive and clearly proves the charge".This can only have been written by somebody who didnt read the report,there is no evidence to support any piece of the charges brought by Evra.
    Incidentally those who say that Suarez needs to be sensitive to how words can be interpreted differently in England are the ones most in need of education.He is speaking in spanish to Evra,whether he is in England or on the moon speaking spanish it does'nt matter he is still speaking spanish.
    Perhaps we should create a dictionary of spanish words that are not acceptable while residing in England or better still write a letter to the King of Spain recommending that he removes certain words from the Spanish language.

    February 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  21. stanley Abernethy,.spain

    mr pinto regarding your article........one word on Daglish,your talking rubbish

    February 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  22. streaky

    "Suarez cannot be defended for his childish demeanor"

    Sure he can. I'll happily show a video of Evra during the match that some of us actually watched to demonstrate who was childish and who wasn't. Referee literally had to jump on Evra at the end of the game to stop him causing a really serious incident.

    FA? Not interested.

    February 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  23. Jerry

    As others have stated it is ridiculous to assume that the case against Suarez was proven by any objective standard. He was found guilty by the FAs own admission, on the balance of probabilities, but ask yourself this – how probable is it that in a crowded goal moth with around 15 people standing right next to each other, that NOBODY else heard Suarez say "negro" seven times?

    February 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  24. 2Cents

    You're exactly why this story is being blown out of proportion. If you watched football at all you'd know that Evra is a huge cry baby. Players often times say things to each other much worse than what Suarez said to Evra, but you don't hear them crying about it. Suarez should have shaken his hand, but Evra definitely isn't helping this issue die down.

    February 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  25. James

    LFC fans will continue to support their player no matter what, just like Chelsea fans will continue to support Terry no matter if he is found guilty. However I expected the club as an intuition to behave better.
    The English FA has done a lot to kick racism out of football, so as the black players by not making any complaints until now. Who can blame them when these past few months have proved how quickly the victim becomes the villain and the accused becomes the hero in the eyes of the respectively fans. So the English FA still has a lot to do and they can start by encouraging professional black players to keep coming forward.

    February 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  26. Sean Gordon

    I think the Brazilian use should be clarified a little better. The term 'negão' or it's base word 'negro' are often used playfully and inoffensively.

    The word 'preto' however, which is the direct translation of the word 'black' in Portuguese, is used in a way similar to how English uses 'the N word' discriminately towards African-Americans.

    I think the greater point is that, regardless of which word you are using, in Brazil, or anywhere else, is exactly how you are using it. If you are using them with the intention to offend, then they are offensive, and it's just simply racist.

    That is exactly the case here. He's used a word describing Evra's skin color which the intention of offended. Whether or not it can be used as an endearing term is irrelevant, as his intentions were clear and obvious.

    It's a little disturbing that so many are trying to justify racist actions with poorly understood references to other cultures.

    Liverpool's actions in supporting this racism and not openly denouncing it is a disgrace to the club. Even their subsequent apology sounded empty.

    Not to mention Suarez never apologized for the racism, or the absolutely bizarre refusal to shake Evra's hand.

    February 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  27. Julio

    This has been blown out of proportion. I understand Evra also was referring to Suarez as "Southamerican" or something like that in a derogatory way.
    Evra thought that Suarez told him "Negrito" in a derogatory way and complained about it. SUarez was suspended for a lot of games.
    I think that if Evra was being derogatory too he should have been suspended for the same amount of games. After all, racism is about making derogatory comments about someone else.

    Or, are the "stop racism" movements just meant to "protect" black people? I wouldn't like to think so.

    February 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  28. BHWY

    What worries me is after the torrent of abuse Evra has received from Liverpool fans, other black players may be reluctant to report racial abuse.

    February 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  29. Manny

    To those defending Luis Suarez because this "situation" could cost him his job and because his such a good player, please stop.

    This situation comes down to a very simple but yet elemental aspect of our current society, too many people know feel "too proud" to apologize when they do something wrong.

    If you are calling somebody "negro" or "negrito" and this person does not know that this is traditionally used as a "friendly" word in their country, you can't blame this person for not knowing this fact. And, this person (Evra) has the right to feel upset or insulted because this word is insulting and/or demeaning when used in his home country (or when used in a specific tone or manner!!!).

    I'll go even further, don't you think that Luis Suarez knows that Patrice does not know the meaning of this word in Uruguay? Of course he does!!! He was using it, most probably in a none racist way, to instigate and affect the concentration of a rival player during the game.

    So if Patrice felt insulted by this word or words, and then this message got to Luis Suarez, why not do the right thing and simply apologize and admit that he was trying to throw off Patrice's concentration during the game.

    By not doing the right thing, this "situation" has blown up into epic proportions and it may very well cost somebody their job. Additionally, it keeps open the possibility that Luis did have racist intentions behind his comments...even if this is not the case...

    Next time, just do the right thing (the mature thing) and apologize. Never forget that there are thousands or even millions of kids watching these players and looking up to this players, and actions just like these could have significant effects on their perception of what is wrong and what is right...

    Enough said...God bless

    February 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  30. Anonymous

    Will the racists ever be properly punished? Suarez is a racist, calling Evra the n-word, refusing to shake his hand. I think more punishment is necessary, both for Suarez and LFC.

    Suarez, another 8 game punishment, for lack of contrition of his racist act and continual racist acts towards black players.

    LFC, immediate player options for contract cancellations. For example, Glen Johnson is an immediate free agent to look for a new club if he feels uncomfortable playing with a racist on his team.

    February 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  31. Anonymous

    Racism exists in Spanish as well. N-word in Spanish is effectively equivalent to n-word in English.

    Of course, the Spanish speakers may not think so... it reminds me of the incident where the Spanish basketball players decided to squinty eyes to make fun of Asian people. Hardly a squeak in continental Europe, but a big uproar in England, far east Asia and north America. And the Spanish hate it so much when we call them "Hispanic" or talk of their history in South/Central America.

    February 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  32. Rob

    Actually, Patrice Evra has long-since been reinstated to the French national team. He served a 5 game suspension from the squad in light of the World Cup mutiny where he served as the team's captain and spoke primarily for the team.

    In light of how the situation was handled by Liverpool FC, I believe that Dalglish and Suarez could have easily avoided the negativity by both issuing an apologetic statement right away instead of some 6 months after the fact. Considering that under no circumstances did I (or anyone else) expect any sort of apology directed at Mr. Evra based on previous statements, the fact that Mr. Suarez did not shake hands with the Manchester United captain (which Mr. Evra is) was highly disrespectful not only of the man but of their fiercest rival. In that regard, I felt LFC was completely out of order and given both clubs, their histories, and contentious rivalry, the issue could only be further exacerbated by not saying anything.

    Kenny Dalglish has every right to protect his player however it would have probably been wiser had LFC kept their counsel over the matter and not drawn out for statements after matters had been put in the hands of the FA investigative committee charged with looking into things. During that time, there were plenty of public displays of solidarity behind the player, constant attacks against Mr. Evra's character, and incessant denials of any wrongdoing. All of this was public and easily found in the media meanwhile, aside from addressing matters in his weekly press conferences, Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United kept the matter to themselves.

    There in lies the difference, right and wrong, in how this matter was handled and how, as many are saying, things got away from LFC to the level where it became an international discussion instead of one strictly limited to being between the two club and the FA. Considering the tribal and blindly loyal mindset of those within LFC and their supporters, no admittance of wrongdoing was ever going to be made particularly if their manager and talisman, Kenny Dalglish did not insist on doing so. I feel that the only reason it is being done now is because the ownership at LFC has mandated it after much handwringing over the impact this entire issue has the potential to hurt their bottom line.

    It has become more than a discussion of footballing etiquette and to that end, I believe that many of the people who are posting here have missed that. It is also not simply about race although the initial discussions about this matter centered there. This is more a matter of stubborn mule-headed behavior and how unapologetic behavior can cost you both dignity and money.

    From what has gone on and what is to follow, it appears it may cost Liverpool a bit of both.

    February 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  33. streaky

    Sean Gordon: Suarez isn't Brazilian, you're off in the zone of wrong country/wrong language.

    February 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  34. Bobby LaVeshk

    I see two sides to this.

    1) It is obvious BOTH players were trying to wind each other up. This happens every game for every team- they play mind games over each other.

    Looking at the body language- Evra certainly seemed to be more of the aggressor, or at least the most wound-up- Suarez was rather cool in comparisson. Certainly, given a cultural context I don't think Suarez was being racist.

    Evra's story certainly was a case of the fish getting larger each time. To the referee he said Suarez made the comment once, to the assistant manager he said he made it 5 times. When interviewed by the press it was "at least 10 times". Clearly a case of Evra milking the story.

    Evra's behaviour is a lot like that of Ronaldo winking after play acting to get Rooney sent off in the World Cup. (in both cases- Suarez and Rooney deserved to be disciplined- but it was the plaintiffs making much-ado-about it that they needn't have).

    2) From the other side though- Suarez DID cross the line with his comments because he made them in Britain and after living in Europe for a number of years should have know that culturally it would not be taken the same way as it was in South America.

    Suarez simply shouldn't have been able to walk away without punnishment. He made a comment that was unacceptable. 8 matches seems extreme given the context that had he punched Evra instead- the standard ban that seems to be handed out is 3 games and a fine.

    Is winding someone up in an unacceptable manner really almost 3 times worse than punching them in the face?

    I don't see a problem with the team getting behind Suarez- clearly they were supporting their man in a case of "he said" "they said"

    The handshake incidence was a stupid decision by Suarez- he doesn't need to forgive him- but he needs to act in a more sportsman like manner.

    Not shaking the hand gave the upper-hand in morality to Evra and made him look like the bad guy for sure. Evra didn't help his image later- but Suarez was definately in the wrong for not shaking his hand.

    February 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  35. gene

    Thank you Sean Gordon. Well said. Racist are cowards, and so are the people who make excuses for them.

    February 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  36. Greg G.

    In all honesty this is a poorly written article. Pedro, you are assuming a lot and not exactly backing it up with facts. Yes, Suarez was extremely wrong for what was said to Evra but it is about time they both move on. Suarez acted like a child by refusing to shake Evra's hand but it seems as if Evra is milking this for all it is worth. He has made his point that he is angry and that Suarez was out of line. There is no room for racism in football, no doubt about it but they are treating these racial abuse cases more harshly than a case which of a player that has inflicted severe injury.

    I am happy to see the FA is trying to crack down on t racial abuse but I feel like they have said their part and need to drop it. It seems as if the FA is trying to show the world that they are the best league and they will not be tolerating this. The FA needs to remember their job is to govern, not to dictate. Liverpool has reached out and apologized, rather late, yes, but still they a recognizing they are wrong. We all need to move on now. This is an old story and it is taking away from the beauty of the football that has been played since the altercation took place last October.

    February 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  37. Milo

    Suarez may not be a racist, but he is a poor example of how a professional athlete should carry himself. The taunting of Evra, being nicknamed "the cannibal" for biting a player and stopping that goal with his hands at the World Cup are obvious examples. Where he really messed up was with the handshake, if he had only done it, voila everything is good, but know he has set himself up as the posterchild of everything evil in football. He may be a gifted footballer, but he has the IQ of a turnip and decency of a hog.

    February 15, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Reply
  38. Arthur

    Using a word a person find to be Related to his/her race in an offensive way is bad. Anybody supporting Surez and LFC on this issue is just a racist plain and simple. Let Sureze go use that word on an American Black NBA player. I bet he will loose one or two tooth. The manager of LFC is the biggest racist in the whole issue. Surez knows what he was doing when he used those word, it was meant to be offensive not for fun.

    February 15, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  39. Max

    I'm from Uruguay reading all this and I'm glad to see/read so many centered opinions on the matter.

    All this is being blown out of proportion because of the media and irresponsible articles like the one we have here by Mr Pedro Pinto.

    I will not even talk about the cry-baby and childish attitudes of Evra, I think anyone with eyes can see the kind of person he is just by looking at all his actions during his career. But I'm amazed at Ferguson's harsh declarations to the media, when many similar and worse situtations happened in his own team: Cantona beating a fan? (he said nothing); Roy Keane breaking Alf-Inge Haaland's knee on purpose and prematurely ending his carrer – see Keane's selfbiography (Ferguson, again silent); Rio Ferdinand refusing to an anti-doping test? (again Ferguson looking the other way)... Rooney's or Giggs' affairs with prostitutes or even his brother's wife??? Ferguson's mouth shut again.

    So, who is this man to badmouth someone with an impeccable career? the same man that has stolen many players from other teams, like the also uruguayan Diego Forlan (who was going to sign with Middlesbrough), the man who was talking all kinds of rubbish about Real Madrid when they wanted Ronaldo but at the same time was stealing Berbatov for his own team?

    I'd say that people who Live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones... shame on you Ferguson for being such a hypocrite.

    February 15, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  40. uruguayan

    hi Pedro should read better the report of the FA, seems made by ignorant ..... The FA should have declared that no incopetente to remedy a problem of two players of different nationalities by a group of people who know nothing of the culture of Uruguay, I hope people see this problem from a objective point of view and not from the cultural problems of one country, I am Uruguayan and I can desir that luis suarez Uruguay and selection of Uruguay have created a foundation to help children with health problems and also played games to help hospitals and many positive things worthy of being taken into account when judging a player who represents a country. I hope readers luis suarez support and understand a very sad reality that the world is so bad for people who judge deliberately and financial reasons as the FA and some reporter. EVRA learn some LUIS SUAREZ that helps many people in Uruguay and is a great person ............ LUIS SUAREZ should not apologize to anyone who is not a good player or a good person ........ and I'm not sudaca am URUGUAYAN!!

    February 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  41. octect

    Ay, ay, Pedro. You always manage to give the most improbable thoughts. How much hypocrisy is around. Nothing was told to Evra for calling Suarez sudaca ( very disliked in south america and a term used mostly in Europe to insult people from South America).

    And then we all forget that we are all humans, and have blood running in our veins. It might be difficult to shake hands when you feel let down and insulted yourself. And, the video shows Evra taking his hand away when Suarez apparently is going to shake hands too.

    I was not there to hear what happened so I am not going to say Suarez did or did not insult him. But neither was anyone else. However he was charged for something nobody else heard but that Suarez says was not meant to insult.
    .
    Here is the the article describing how Evra calls Suarez "South american": http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/liverpool/8957294/Luis-Suarez-racism-hearing-reputations-at-stake-as-panel-attempt-to-unravel-most-complicated-of-cases.html

    February 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  42. ugochukwu

    Man you are too simplistic in your analysis. I am shocked. Calling someone negreta is not racist – Also telling (Evra) he doesnt talk to 'blacks'? Surely they are more than winding up. You should respect your opponent. If he wasnt a racist, he should have found another way of winding his opponet, Evran up, such as pinching.

    February 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Reply
  43. Noah

    Thank you CNN for allowing the fans to have a say, especially the Liverpool ones. Evra was said to be a reliable, composed Witness. But if anyone understands accepted footballing etiquette you would agree with me that rubbing it in to a loser in a football match is not done, as he did at full-time. just imagine Suarez spoke to Evra at all in that match—what would he be standing accused of today? the incident happened in 2 minutes. True, Suarez didn't hear the insult from Evra but if someone says something in an insulting tone to you even in a language you do not understand wouldn't you get the insult? Sir Alex and Evra didn't handle this matter with the discretion it deserves and I a lifelong Liverpool fan had even come to have some respect for Fergie. he tried to select the Liverpool first 11. Even by his standards, that's a first. What galls them the most is the FA Cup match which Liverpool play this weekend and the final afterwards. stoking the flames for Sir Alex has been meant to damage the Liverpool brand. IF they fire either Dalglish or Suarez it will be damaged. the finest moment in that match for me was Suarez's goal.

    February 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  44. astonlad

    People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. The Manchester Utd squad are hardly saints...

    February 15, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  45. streaky

    "Suarez was extremely wrong for what was said to Evra but it is about time they both move on"

    This is really where the problem starts. Only if you believe the outcome was fair can you "move on".

    Suarez doesn't, most livepool fans don't. The real question is given what was supposed to have been said, why is Evra happy? That doesn't make any sense.

    February 15, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Reply
  46. Warsaw20/77

    This is clearly a situation in which passion for club (LFC) and who said what is overshadowing the main point – this is an overall brand disaster for Liverpool.

    Standard Chartered (shirt sponsor) and Fenway (owners) have every right to very, very displeased by the handling of the situation by the player and the manager. Backing your player is important. Backing your player blindly when it damages the team, its quest for success and the interests of the owners is wrong headed in this business.

    For the manager to skip the post game press conference and then claim to have not seen the deliberate pullback by Suarez at handshake time is beyond credible. Boys are getting paid huge money to play the game, but they need to remember that they are just employees when they start to hurt the brand and image of the club.

    Look at how much fun wonderman Tevez is having at Man City.....wasting one of his potentially best years by having fits.

    LFC should have said a small "sorry, mate" long ago and this message board and article wouldn't exist.

    February 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Reply
  47. Kwame

    If Suarez really used the word "negrito", then he knew very well that it would offend Evra. He may not be racist but he used a word which he was so certain that Evra or any other black player playing in England will find that offending because it connotes with the usual racist word "Negro". Suarez knew exactly what he was doing. The black players in Liverpool should be ashamed that they have not come out to condemn that. Sooner or later, it will happen to one them, maybe not in England but somewhere in Europe. Let's see how Danglish would react to that, if it should happen to one of their own. He is just being hypocrite and i think the entire fans of Liverpool are as well. Suarez didn't use that word in the heat of the game just to be sympathetic to Evra or something like that. I could understand if you support a team, you tend to be supportive of everything, but not like this. Suarez should apologize to Evra for using that word, if he truly believe that he did not mean it to be offensive. I am certain that if Evra was a Liverpool player, the fans would be as supportive as the ones of Manchester.

    We are all just bunch of Hypocrites.

    February 15, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Reply
  48. Pablo C.

    It is clear to me that very few have ever played soccer in your life, soccer is a very rough game, have your even gone up with a rival to head a ball and feel that the other player is poking you in the ribs. It is a passionate sport, and there are rules, not spoken rules but rules that are understood by all players, you never try to purposely injure another player, and what is said in the field stays in the field, after the game you shake hands brush it off and all is well. Luis Suarez is not a racist, I find it very amusing that the strongest reactions to this come form countries where there really is a very strong racism, and people racism not only to blacks, but to south americans called sudacas in most of europe. I find this very hypocritical, in Uruguay you can call anyone "Negro", because it is not a racist term, you even call Negro a person who is not black. Now don't get me wrong, I am not as inocent to believe that Luis called Evra, negro in a endearing form, he was probably pissed. The issue here is that this is being taken out of proportion because of hypocrisy, i would like to know all of these people that are taking the riiteous high ground condemning Luis have people of color as their best friends, as Luis does, or even family members. There are the real racists.

    With respecto to the hand shake, I think Luis was very pissed, for being accused of racist, it seems that NO one believes any more that a person is innocent until proven guilty, i hope one day these individual don't find themselves in the same situation and your name is slandered all over the world.

    As i mentioned he was pissed but he was willing to shake his hand, and if you look closely at the pictures of how Evra extended his hand out to shake each of the players, when Luis came by with his hand to shake it he retracted his hand, however left it open, this was the straw that broke the camels back, and luis decided there and then NOT to shake this persons hand, not because he is a racist, but because he decided to follow his heart and not all the media frenzy.

    If you are looking for racist, you wont find them in Luis Suarez, maybe you should look in the mirror and stop trying to put your burden on someone else.

    You the worst thing is that this type of thing instead of helping the fight of racism it helps divert the attention the other way.

    Was Luis right, NO i don't think he was right to call Evry a "Negro" in a country that is so sensitive with racial issues, he has to lear better. Was he being a racist NO. Is Evry a saint and innocent in this matter, NO he decided to play the race card, I can understand he felt offended but i think that he took the issue to a level where it hurts more than helps ease racial tensions.

    My final word on the matter, as our lord said he who is free of sin may he though the first rock.

    Look deep inside each one of you who want to crucify Luis Suarez and ask yourself if you have in all of your life made a racial remark, a racial joke. Are you a racist???

    February 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  49. Alex

    wow! you obviously dont know much of liverpool FC to think they are gonna sack Kenny and sell Luis. haha

    February 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  50. BKKKop

    No one can force a man to say sorry or apologise for thing that he has not wrongly committed or he is innocent. Many accused have gone to jail or death row on wrong verdict – so we should not expect them to say sorry or apologise to what he think it is not wrong. Suarez has been punished by FA and he accepted it – but why he has to be blamed for not shanking hand with a person who in his opinion intentionally damaged his reputation. Suarez did wrong for saying before game that he will shank hands with Evra. So the expectation is high. He is of liberty to say "no" from the first place. LFC did right things on defending case. People are too worried about racism issues, but ignore "human right" and "dignity". Suarez would go from LFC on the course that he will be treated badly when he plays in UK.

    February 15, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  51. C Fell

    The writer has completely missed the intense rivalry between these two clubs. Two players were trash talking and Evra took offence to a term that is used quite frequently (and without racial malice) in Suarez's native country.

    Suarez has now (unfairly) been deemed a "racist" and will be booed and jeered by the opposition whenever he plays. If Evra really had a problem, it could have been discussed between the two players and Suarez would have had the opportunity to present his side man-on-man. Instead, Evra chooses to drag Suarez's name through the mud and forces the hand of the English FA to act, whilst having a field day in the media.

    Evra has cried wolf before; he turned his back on France when he started a player mutiny at the last World Cup; he could have caused a riot with his provocative post-match celebration in front of Suarez. But hey, he's untouchable like the rest of Fergie's boys so why am I even bothering to comment?! Apparently, Man Utd players can do no wrong so let's all support their dubious morals on and off the field

    February 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Reply
  52. Cage70

    Almost unbelievable how many Liverpool fans just won't let go, accept it and move on....
    They're clutching to so much misinformation I doubt they ever will.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:20 am | Reply
  53. adakwu53

    LFC has been my team for the past past 35 years when i wsa a student at bolton inst of tech and later during my studies at uni bradford. i have never in all the years seen this my darling team in such a mess. what attracted me to the team mainly was their gentle ways as epitomised by most of their players then: the amiable captain, the late emylin hughues (pardon my spellings), that 'supper-sub' steve highways, their great and courageous keeper, ray clemence, sublime kenny dalglish, etc. lfc has all along been a great team both on and off the field.even when they were not doing so well they always had my respect and that of many people internationally. but lack of courage on the part of the mgt to speak out on the suarez-evra issue has put a serious dent on lfc image internationally. suarez with all his qualities as a palyer is not a player for liverpool. at the last world cup in south africa he unprofessionally denied ghana the chance of progressing to the last 8 by turning himself into a goalkeeper, shamelessly catching the ball with his hands. i agree that he should be sold out. it will be a good riddance. lfc is too clean to habour such an indisciplined player.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:27 am | Reply
  54. Cage70

    Hi denis. I have read the report. There is plenty of evidence to corroborate Evra’s account. And lots that shows Suarez’s to be inconsistent….
    Blind loyalty...

    February 16, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
  55. Nick

    I am an arsenal fan but any´real football fan loves Liverpool FC hence Liverpool is my second team overall but my loyalty is dwidling..Players come and go but Liverpool lives on, Suarez is not bigger than Liverpool and I think we will be seeing the back of him sooner or later...he will probably find his solace in Italy ..He is talented, but he fails to understand that talent can take somewhere but discipline will keep there.

    Fergie might be a hypocrite but Suarez brought this to himself and the club.....

    Can't wait to you go Suarez

    February 16, 2012 at 1:05 am | Reply
  56. dullah

    The facts a lot of people don't know is: always English media are behind Alex Fargason. Completely favor man u in whatever fargason says. After the match they wait what fargason has said, and they all raise topic based on that e.g Torres is a diver, every news paper next day "Torres is a diver or Suares was diving everywhere all the news paper...! Suares is disgrace... English sport media is laughing stock, they pretend they don't know how special is terry treated on the same issue LOL.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:12 am | Reply
  57. Sean Gordon

    Streaky, I'm aware that Suarez is Uruguayan. I wanted to clarify the Brazilian use because this articles writer used Brazil and Portuguese as an example.

    Also, Portuguese and Spanish are extremely similar, I'm definitely not expert on Spanish language, but I can say that I have heard similar race-based expressions used in both fashions (friendly and offensively).

    February 16, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
  58. Amanuel Babu

    PEDRO GOD BLESS U ! PERFECT COMMENT! FOR I'm 37 Years old.
    I was supporting LFC for the last 17 years! I 'm No more a supporter.I throw my LPFC T shirt to garbage.No More!

    I 'm sorry!

    February 16, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
  59. Liverpool fan

    Am not surprised Liverpool after all was the centre of the slave trade!

    Personally I am fed up with LFC have been a supporter since 1978 and have been at pains supporting the team. They do not have the fans at heart.

    February 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  60. Chris

    I sincerely believe Liverpool's owners with John Henry will support Kenny Dalglish .
    I also harbour a hope that at some point Man.Utd. Board and Manager will be taken to task in exaggerated claims and untruths, supported by a fickle media, by the Liverpool Board when the time is right.
    World wide I firmly believe that what attracts all like minded, fair people in supporting Liverpool still exists and will continue to do so.
    Let's all just move forward now.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  61. Ako Amadi

    I feel disappointed reading these views by Mr. Pinto. I don't think we should be playing down what happened and declaring it's normal in South America or Portugal, and Luis Suarez is not a racist and all that stuff. How do we classify a man who says he does not talk to Blacks? I imagine if a German said to to an Israeli player he didn't like speaking to Jews the entire world would have been stunned

    February 16, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  62. Jimbo

    Suarez and Evra were just as bad as each other. I've read the report and I've seen Suarez was all over show, but Evra actually started the taunting apparently. An oddity is he also bemoaned the referee for booking him because he was black. In fact he's used that call a number of times and against numerous referees.
    What I think Liverpool really did screw up on was the wearing of the Tshirts in support of Suarez, and or trusting his version of events. Suarez is a swarthy fellow of ill temprament and odd logic. His pinching of Evra was never going to go down well. If he had been more straight up in the deposition he'd have come across far better. Dalglish also put to much faith in the guy. However, why sling stones his way? What's really odd about this is that in the Terry case, Chelsea have not recieved anywhere near as much press coverage. Further that, Andreas Villas Boas has publically supported his charge as well.

    Ferdinand it might be pointed out appears to be a more solid and rounded individual than Mr Evra who clearly likes to play victim. Racism sucks and it's not because Evra spoke out against Suarez that is the reason why he is so loathed by Pool fans. It's because he is hardly a saint and is revelling in being the victim. Suarez was a fool to give this drama queen the chance to shine. Evra also racially insulted Suarez and it is bizarre how he is being dealt to exclusively. Evra should have got a ban himself.

    February 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  63. BobSanders

    It's amazing how many badly this case has been handled. blown out of all proportion with biased, myopic journalism. Suarez not shaking evra's hand may really have been the best thing for him to have done at that moment, given replays suggest evra was pulling his own hand back. as has been mentioned above the 115 (which could easily have been 50 were it drafted properly) page report by the FA is a disgrace to article 10 of the declaration of human rights (the right to a free trial), with everything from the coaching evra received before the trial (which wasn't afforded to suarez) to the eventual guilty 'on the balance of probability' verdict in spite of only having one man's word against another's to rely on, clearly suggesting they wanted to make a statement instead of uphold justice. Note also that they chose to include as a reason that "it is a real albeit unattractive characteristic of human nature that we all act from time to time, to greater of lesser degrees, in ways that may be out of character" in the report to try to lend a hand to their verdict.

    to make a point that has so far been missed, evra is often called 'negro' by his south american colleagues at manchester united, so it's not like he's unaware of the use of the word in an unoffensive manner. Also, suarez himself has a grandfather who is black, and had previously used the word in saying "Dale, negro" to manchester city's yaya toure while helping him off the ground. While liverpool didn't help themselves with the handling of the case (the t-shirts were a poor idea), the only reason they needed to apologise was to try and draw a line under the whole despicable affair.

    February 17, 2012 at 1:45 am | Reply
  64. Mayank Rawat

    It feels that the writer is biased and a Man United fan or Evra Lover... The PR disaster as he mentioned has nothing to do with how team performs in field. I'm sure Liverpool who are sitting on two cups to win wil perform and end this issue with superb run.

    As for the writers idea about Dalgish sacking and Suarez selling, hez got it all wrong. Im actually suprised by his thoughts. What Liverpool is today is because of King. While all other team players problems surfacing with their manager, never ever Liverpool players and fans have lost hopes for the King Kenny.

    My honest suggestion to the person is to look the issue from both sides. Yes, Suarez was wrong, no doubt... But writing these blogs and heating up the issue again and again is big mistake. Why no bloga are written on Terry racism issues... Please think and write..

    February 17, 2012 at 10:48 am | Reply
  65. Ako Amadi

    It's amazing and interesting how much analysis of racism is done by people who have never been the victims of it

    February 17, 2012 at 11:05 am | Reply
  66. Cage70

    BobSanders, a few corrections

    – Using the test of balance of probabilities was correct, because it is not a criminal case.

    – It didn’t ‘only’ have one man's word against another's to rely on, they used lots of other evidence, including language experts, video evidence, the testimony of other and so on.

    – There is no evidence that Evra has ever been called 'negro' by his colleagues at manchester united.

    – Saying "Dale, negro" to Taya Toure was when helping him, so in a friendly context. Against Evra it was repeatedly used during a hostile argument. A critical distinction.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  67. Burhan

    I think Patrick Evra has played this to the stage, he wanted publicity and got it. Negro is a common term . I suggest we call him Pariah Evra for making so much of nothing

    February 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  68. BobSanders

    Cage70, Ako Amadi
    racist abuse is a criminal offense in the uk. the fa's punishment for a racist remark is more severe than the governments. also appreciate that if a person is convicted of racism it is likely going to have massive repercussions on his brand globally. balance of probabilities shouldn't cut it. that is why liverpool are so insistent on backing their player. they haven't gone about it very well but that they are is commendable.

    language experts analysis was inconclusive, as there were two versions of event (and in both versions there were inconsistencies on the exact wordings of the exchange). one would've been racist, the other a response to a possibly racist remark. there is no video evidence confirming anything either of the two players said during the trial. no one else heard the exchange. the person who comes closest to being a witness is dirk kuyt, who claimed to have been certain that evra was complaining that he was only booked by the referee because he was black. david de gea was not 1 meter from where the exchange was supposed to have taken place but heard nothing. all other testimony from players relates to how the reporting of the incident panned out after the game.

    as critical a distinction is that suarez's remarks can only argued to be explicitly racist if evra's version of events is true. as mentioned, there is no evidence of that beyond the fa panel's 'reasoning'. if as you claim, you have indeed read the full report but still hold on the belief that their reasoning was adequate, then there really is nothing left in this discussion. you will believe what you want to believe and you will argue that i do the same.

    you're right, there is no explicit evidence that evra has ever been called negro by his united colleagues. but suarez's claim that he has was never disputed and they do speak a mixture of south american spanish and portuguese among themselves. and it is a common term (and often one of endearment in south america). there is also a video on youtube of evra calling referring to jimmy floyd hasselbank as a 'n****r'. make of that what you will. my interpretation is that most likely they do call him 'negro'.

    in case anyone mistakes my intentions with this post, i do find racism loathsome. BobSanders isn't actually my name and i've been called a 'curry' enough times to know what racist abuse is. but i also do not believe justice should be served on the basis of one man's word over another's.

    February 18, 2012 at 3:31 am | Reply
  69. Auburn

    The writer has it spot on. These Liverpool fans will of course react, but they react in a way of hiding the fact that they lost the game against Manchester United. But they will feel the damage next season. They will not play in Euro CL, and they will be without the same character that tarnished the Liverpool name (because he will not go another season without Euro football).

    February 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  70. Frank

    Awful, awful article. The lies the media tell are unbelievable. Liverpool were right to stand up for Suarez. He probably should have shook Evra's hand because it would have stopped the crazy circus that the media are causing over a situation that should have simply been dismissed by the FA (no evidence, no witnesses), but he didn't & that was his choice. They're his rights as it's a free country. Evra acted very childishly, grabbed Suarez's arm which could be classed as assault & has somehow slipped under the radar of the media & the FA. Typical. United's influence & stench is all over the media & in the FA. Everybody seems to be under Fergie's thumb. Dalglish & Suarez will not leave in the Summer because all they done was stand up for what they believe in. & the fans will rightly stand behind them as well. The British media should be ashamed of themselves, going on another Witch Hunt. Especially the Sun newspaper (no surprise there) which reported De Gea was spit on at half time in the tunnel saying a mystery source informed them. There was absolutely no proof of this & it's obviously lies as Fergie & others would have no doubt went to the media & FA & complained about it. The newspaper basically has no credibility & still has not apologised about the atrocious lies they told about the Liverpool fans after Hillsborough. When are the media going to leave this young player be & let him get on with his career? It's getting silly. Terrible article Pedro, get your facts right.

    February 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  71. thanks

    As someone of colour I think white people need o understand that while Anglo society has been freed of racism the reality is that Spanish people are racist period (Go ask Mario Balotelli or Thierry Henry what happens when they go to spain). In the US their is racial tension between latinos and African Americans and predominantly the view from us is we don't want anything to do with them.... outside of the Christian English speaking world the French, Spanish, Portugese and Dutch peoples still see us as subhuman monkeys, we need an 'English' peoples to control the racism laws within the confines of England and hopefully one day the world.

    February 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  72. Ako Amadi

    Bob Sanders. How do you know Evra is called "Negro" by colleagues at United? And I suppose according to you and others Luis Suarez was using "Negro" as a sign of "endearment" in a heated confrontation with a footballer of African origin? I suppose if Suarez called you "Curry" on the pitch you'd be very glad?
    We miss one point – under 200 years ago Africans were kept as slaves in South America. Given that background, what is normal to Luis Suarez and other South Americans, including his black compatriots may be offensive to others elsewhere. South America has never broached the issue of racism in its polyglot society, pretending it doesn't exist.
    I think Luis Suarez has learnt some lessons from his travels in the Netherlands and England.

    February 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  73. Saby

    For the apologists for Suarez, there is an inherently illogical thread to their argument. Evra is wrong for complaining about Suarez for being called what anywhere else would be considered racist, the FA (a group of people not an individual) is wrong for punishing Suarez, Evra is again wrong for causing Suarez to not shake his hand, Sir Alex is wrong for being angry at Suarez, Kenny is wrong defending Suarez, Ferdinand is wrong for retaliating, the fans are wrong for defending him, etc, ad infinitum.

    If Suaraz had just shut up or just been a good, decent , normal person and shook and extended handshake, none of this would have happened. Or better yet, if he did not exist, none of these problems would either..

    February 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  74. Saby

    Fire Kenny? Sell Suarez??##!! Do you honestly think LFC is that stupid??

    February 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  75. francis debrah

    suarez is not a good guy, but he is a racist, Evra is the world best number 3 and will still stay and play for man u. if li'pool want to be on the champions league then they should talk and warn suarez. he has a bad temper.

    February 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  76. Jenny Lavista

    Suarez a Racist NO Way. Look who is saying hes been abused...............Evra..........(I am a staunch supporter of the French National Team and have been for the last 35 Years) EVRA IS JUST A DISGRACE TO HIS COUNTRY .. WHAT HE DID AS CAPTAIN OF THE FRENCH TEAM IS ABSOLUTELY DISGRACEFUL AND IT IS THE SAME ALEX FERGUSON WHO MADE HIM CAPTAIN OF MANU ( BY THE WAY I AM A MANU SUPPORTER)

    EVRA SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO PLAY FOOTBALL ANYMORE

    February 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Reply
  77. Cage70

    BobSanders, you're being misleading and inaccurate again i'm afraid.

    The FA's punishment for a racist remark is not simply more severe than a criminal court. The FA cannot cause you to have a criminal record. The only thing you're pointing to is that the FA can fine more and take into account the person’s likely earnings, which is still proportionally very small and only a few days wages.

    About the stardard of proor required, the FA actually use the flexible civil standard of balance of probabilities, so the more serious the charge the more cogent evidence required to prove it. So it DOES take into consideration that it is serious and it's not simply the balance of probabilities.
    Which is why supporting Suarez is not commendable, it‘s just blindly self-interested. But even that backfired....

    The language experts and video evidence clearly corroborate Evra’s account and totally undermine Suarez’s. Neither need to prove anything on their own. All evidence taken together is used to prove the charge.

    You are totally wrong to say “Suarez's remarks can only argued to be explicitly racist if evra's version of events is true”. In fact, during testimony Suarez concedes the context which he said ‘negro’ wasn’t conciliatory and therefore that his account alone is racially abusive.

    If you think that the evidence in the report indicates it more likely that the rule wasn’t broken than that suggests you haven’t read the report. Suarez changed his account several times in different ways and none of them were reliable. Evra is very consistent overall and Suarez’s account is a total mess. The likelihood is clearly that Evra did not invent the allegations.

    But you’re obviously biased. Because there is no evidence whatsoever that Evra has ever been called negro by his colleagues. What do you think should be made of that video from 2004 of Evra saying ‘n**ger’ being silly??

    It’s not one man’s word against another!! Or as the report puts it in paragraph 214 “This case is not simply about one person's word against another. Whilst there were conflicting accounts of what happened which were presented to us by Mr Evra and Mr Suarez, there was other relevant evidence which we were able to take into account in reaching our decision.”

    If you find racism loathsome, stop spreading misinformation suggesting an allegation of racist abuse was invented.

    February 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  78. ZOM

    Why must he call him a negro in the fisrt instance ? and nothing has been done to correct the abnormalities.

    Thanks.

    February 22, 2012 at 9:09 am | Reply
  79. Kingsley

    Will people, i've news for you all- this is not about Suarez, it's not even about Evra nor Racism, far from it..they're (Evra & Suarez) both pawns in the hands of one club who rightly or wrongly has been used by the British (British football mafia) to ensure they remain the majority share holder of football business in UK – Man U.

    How else can anyone see this differently, a few weeks ago...football watchers from around the world saw Man U in active connivance with the refree as usual rob Chelsea point blank, Anything to keep Man U on top of the cake is acceptable. -This is the grand plan of premier League.

    I can understand the Bristish media interest in all this scheme, but Pinto what in God's name are you talkign about???

    February 22, 2012 at 10:33 am | Reply
  80. J

    Pedro,
    Your article as well as your outlook on this situation (as well as the backwards opinions of most of the commentary here) lack honesty and integrity. Term of Endearment? Are you kidding? I'd be very interested if someone in Portugal called you Negrito if you would feel so "endeared". Brazil is certainly no example of great race relations, ask the black ones in the favelas if they feel so endeared. Suarez,(ask Argentinian Blacks if they are treated in an endearing way in their own homeland) has a heck of a nerve,prejudice( he doesn'thave the power to be racist) he's unapologetic, arrogant, and poor example of good sportsmanship, period. If the world weren't so racist by nature, and dismissive of black people, forgive and forget wouldn't be in this conversation

    February 23, 2012 at 12:19 am | Reply
  81. JJ

    Are all immigrants in the UK when using their own language liable to be charged with race crimes if they use words that sound racially offensive or could be mistranslated by an immigrant from another country. It was a ridiculous charge.
    The fight against racism covers many aspects, language, actions, behaviour, exclusion, glass ceilings and inequality but racism charges must be about intent or they are worthless and dangerous.
    This was never proven conclusively against Suarez
    The first racist action was when Evra, knowing Suarez only understood Spanish, switched to his language to abuse him.
    He should have been charged, however, the FA in its report said it would only rule on the charge before it. No wonder Evra was more credible, he was guaranteed never to face charges.

    February 26, 2012 at 12:40 am | Reply
  82. The Tom

    How can anyone say that Luis Suarez has done nothing wrong? He's a maniac.

    Uruguay have had there fair share of 'passionate' footballers over the years (and coaches and fans for that matter) but there has to be a line. If he cannot decide for himself what might be considered racist in another culture or what might be offensive to someone of a different ethnicity, then he is more ignorant and more stupid than I gave him credit for.

    I can understand why Liverpool supporters are sticking up for him. I guess if it were my team (fortunately it isn't!) I might try to pick apart the story where possible. It's pretty clear however, he's either an asshole an idiot but most likely both.

    The funny thing is that Suarez might end up being more of a burden on the club than Andy Carroll!! At the end of the day, this isn't the first time Suarez has done something stupid and if he doesn't change, Liverpool Football Club will be considered widely a disgrace. Hey, at least they got rid of Torres.. or maybe they wish they hadn't now!?

    February 27, 2012 at 4:09 am | Reply
  83. Raja

    Pedro you must come off the beers my friend! Dalglish will never be sacked by Liverpool. And Suarez wont be moving anywhere.

    February 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  84. Bill

    I've only seen Suarez a few times, and he hasn't looked that good on the field to me. But then again I've been biased against him since the World Cup handball incident. I miss Gary Linekar, a great player but more importantly a gentleman.

    March 6, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  85. Keshav

    As the saying goes, "Better late than never!"

    March 9, 2012 at 5:05 am | Reply
  86. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Life is short and sweet. Footballers like all others are human. Now and then mistakes can take place. Forgiveness and reconciliation can build the necessary bridges. The Beautiful Game has to go on.

    March 12, 2012 at 11:04 am | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.