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FA Evra Racism Report Saves Liverpool Player Luis Suarez’s Career

by | 1st, January 2012

IS Liverpool’s Luis Suarez a racist? It might depend who you ask. Suarez has been found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Eva, the Manchester United player, on the “balance of probability“. In other words, not beyond reasonable doubt. Suárez has been banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 for racially abusing Evra.

Suarez says his language was nuanced. The finger Suarez gave to Fulham fans that earned him a one match ban was not so couched in an alien culture. He opted for a US hand gesture, not a South American one. Suarez is picking up the local culture the hard way. Maybe he’s just a slow learner?

The Football Association has published a 115-page report into the matter of Evra v Suarez.

Key parts are:

* In the match between Liverpool and United, Evra starts the verbals by insulting Suarez’s sister in Spanish.

* The entire conversation occurred in Spanish.

* FA Report: “After the referee Andre Marriner separated them, Mr Suarez said that he turned to Mr Evra and said, ‘Por que, negro?

* FA: “Mr Suarez said that he pinched Mr Evra’s skin in an attempt to defuse the situation. He also said that his use of the word ‘negro’ to address Mr Evra was conciliatory and friendly. We rejected that evidence.”

* Evra asked Suarez why he had kicked him. Suarez replied in Spanish: “Because you are black.” Evra invites Suarez to say it again, stating that he will “punch him”. Suarez said: “I don’t speak to blacks.” Evra replied: “Okay, now I think I’m going to punch you.” Suarez responded: “Dale, negro, negro, negro.”

The FA’s hired linguist expert translates this as: “Okay, blackie, blackie, blackie.”

* Suarez is alleged to have used the term “negro” seven times in around two minutes.

* Evra to the referee “Ref, ref, he just called me a fucking black.”

* FA: “He [Suarez] said that he used the word ‘negro’ at this point in the way that he did when he was growing up in Uruguay, that is as a friendly form of address to people seen as black or brown-skinned or even just black-haired. He [Suarez] said that he used it in the same way that he did when he spoke to Glen Johnson, the Liverpool player. He [Suarez] said in no way was the use of the word ‘negro’ intended to be offensive or to be racially offensive. It was intended as an attempt at conciliation.”

* Suarez: “I would refer to Glen Johnson as ‘negro’ in the same way that I might refer to Dirk Kuyt as ‘Blondie’ – because he has blond hair, or Andy Carroll as ‘Grandote’ – ‘Big Man’ – because he is very tall. Where I come from it is normal to refer to people in this way by reference to what they look like. There is no aggression in referring to somebody in this way and there is certainly no racial connotation.”

* FA: “Mr Suárez claimed it is used as a friendly form of address to people seen as black or brown skinned. Thus, it meant ‘Why, black?’ [In his own witness statement, Suárez added: “my wife calls me negro in an affectionate way.”

* The FA: “The first aggravating factor was the number of times Mr Suarez used the word ‘negro’ or ‘negros’. We have found that Mr Suarez used [them] seven times in his exchanges with Mr Evra. Whilst we recognised that the exchanges occurred over only a two-minute spell in the second half of the match, there were multiple uses of the insulting words by Mr Suarez. The second aggravating factor was what Mr Suarez said when using the insulting words. He did not simply use the word ‘negro’ to address Mr Evra. He did that, but he also said that he had kicked Mr Evra because he was black and that he did not talk to blacks. Even if Mr Suarez said these things in the heat of the moment without really meaning them, nevertheless this was more than just calling Mr Evra ‘negro’. According to the Spanish language experts, the uses would have been regarded as racially offensive in Uruguay.”

* Suarez said Evra called him “South American” in a derogatory. But FA commission said: “We found that Mr Evra did not use the words ‘South American’ when speaking to Mr Suarez.”

* After the match Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish told referee Marriner in reference to Evra, “Hasn’t he done this before?”

* FA: “Given the number of times that Mr Suarez used the word ‘negro’, his conduct is significantly more serious than a one-off use of a racially offensive term and amounts to an aggravating factor. In our judgment, Mr Suarez’s use of the term [negro] was not intended as an attempt at conciliation or to establish rapport; neither was it meant in a conciliatory and friendly way.”

* FA: “Mr Evra was a credible witness. He gave his evidence in a calm, composed and clear way. It was, for the most part, consistent, although both he and Mr Suarez were understandably unable to remember every detail of the exchanges between them. Mr Suarez’s evidence was unreliable in relation to matters of critical importance. It was, in part, inconsistent with the evidence, especially the video footage. For example, Mr Suarez said that he pinched Mr Evra’s skin in an attempt to defuse the situation. He also said that his use of the word ‘negro’ to address Mr Evra was conciliatory and friendly. We rejected that evidence. To describe his own behaviour in that way was unsustainable and simply incredible given that the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument. That this was put forward by Mr Suarez was surprising and seriously undermined the reliability of his evidence on other matters. There were also inconsistencies between his accounts given at different times as to what happened.”

THE FA SAVES SUREZ:

* The FA: “This case is not about whether Mr Suarez is in fact a racist. Indeed, the commission will no doubt conclude that there are some indications that he is not.”

* FA: “Mr Evra said in his evidence that he did not think Mr Suárez is a racist. Mr Suárez said in evidence that he will not use the word ‘negro’ on a football pitch in England in the future, and we believe that is his genuine and firm intention. He has in the past supported, and continues to support, a charitable project in South Africa designed to promote multi-racial football.”

So. Suarez learns the hard way. It’s just a shame that when he played for Groningen and Ajax in the Netherlands for four years no-one told him about attitudes to race in the UK.



Posted: 1st, January 2012 | In: Sports Comments (10) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink