Anorak News | Liverpool’s Luis Suarez gave us a moral education

Liverpool’s Luis Suarez gave us a moral education

by | 5th, January 2012

ROD Liddle is a columnist paid to say controversial things to a deadline. This week, he uses his Sun column to defend Liverpool’s Luis Suarez in his row with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. In a piece entitled: “I don’t like Suarez…but he’s the victim” Liddle calls Suarez a “gobby little cheat”. He then tells readers that Liverpool:

“…does not understand why…Evra himself has not been charged by the Football Association. By his own admission, he said something in Spanish to Suarez along the lines of “your sister’s vagina”. Or it could have been “Your sister IS a vagina. The records aren’t clear on this…”

Liddle reminds readers that Luis Suarez  does not have a sister.

Evra’s alleged verbal assault echoes that of Marco Materazzi, the Italian who provoked France’s Zinedine Zidane into headbutting him during the 2006 World Cup final. Materazzi made a sexual slur about Zidane’s sister. He wound up the other team’s best player. Italy won. As the Italian said:

“We both spoke and I wasn’t the first. I held his shirt but don’t you think it is a provocation to say that ‘if you want my shirt I will give it you afterwards’? I replied to Zidane that I would prefer his sister, that is true. I brought up his sister and that wasn’t a nice thing, that is true. Thankfully there are tens of footballers who could confirm that much worse things are said on the field.”

Materazzi does not reveal what these other things are, so adding to the notion that what is said on the pitch should stay on the pitch. Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger made much the same point:

“…you have played football, you have said something to your friends sometimes – ‘You are an idiot’ – but you do not really think that he’s an idiot.”

Evra went and told the referee what Saurez had said. He wanted justice on demand. He got it. But was Evra guilty of holding aloft the imaginary yellow card, crying foul and reminding the referee of his duty to prosecute any slight? Should what was said on the pitch in the heat of battle have remained there?

Wenger added, in light of the John Terry row:

“…whatever insults were traded during the game, players are expected to shake hands and leave these animosities when the match is over. Yes, you need a thick skin, but the rules of engagement are fairly clear – or at least they used to be.”

This is the opposite position to that espoused by Oliver Holt in the Mirror:

“Irrespective of what did or did not happen between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra and John Terry and Anton Ferdinand, no one can pretend any more that the English game is not riven by racial prejudice.”

Really? Is it?

David James, a black man ho played for England, offered:

“Does football still have a problem with racism? Before writing this column I canvassed opinion at my club, Bristol City. From young apprentices to older players and physios the overwhelming response was a resounding “no”. Only one person relayed an incident regarding a manager many moons ago.”

So. Can it be argue that what passes between players on the pitch is a private matter?

Mick Hume asks:

…we do not treat somebody kicking us on the football pitch in the same way as we would if it happened in the street. So why should what they say be any different? The new attempt to impose a polite form of etiquette not only on the terraces but on the pitch is symptomatic of the muddying of the line between what is considered public and private these days.

It was Fifa president Sepp Blatter who said:

“There is no racism, there is maybe one of the players towards another, he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one. But also the one who is affected by that, he should say that this is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands, and this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination.”

By “we” the self-aggrandising and vain Blatter meant himself and Fifa. He’s a greedy fool. The hard work in fighting racism has been done in society. Racism is not tolerated in and by football crowds in Britain because it is not tolerated in the street. Bananas are not chucked at black players at British grounds. This is not to do with Fifa; it’s to do with the changing view brought about by law, life and a new morality. Football does not lead the way. It is just a sport that has been bigged up by media with pages to fill and easy narratives to sell.

But Blatter’s point that in the heat of battle things are said that might not be meant occupies Liddle:

“If you said it [“your sister’s a vagina”] to the Archbishop of Canterbury over tea at Lambeth Palace, for example, I suspect he’d take offence and probably offer you outside.”


“Surely, the FA must set an example, otherwise players up and down the leagues will be referring to one another’s sister’s front bottoms, willy nilly. And they’ll do so knowing that as far as the FA is concerned, it’s perfectly OK.”

Is it time for a Kick Misogyny Out campaign in football?

Liddle adds:

“(The FA report was) all about whether it was rude to have called someone a “negro” or not. I think that’s the clearest indication that the FA were not really trying to pursue justice. Instead they were trying to prove that they are more politically correct than anyone else.”

The phrase politically correct is a red-rag to the internet and readers interaction. This is the tabloid columnist pressing f9 on the keyboard and becoming talked about. Political correctness means it is not ok to call a black man Sooty on the telly. Good. But right-on liberal comedians telling rape jokes is ok. What is and what is not acceptable is a changing landscape.

Perhaps Liddle’s position is to show us that a campaign to slam Suarez is part of a national drive to make anti-racism the default position. The outrage when we hear a racial slur is what binds us as a nation.

He ends:

“The correct response to being called a ‘negro’ would have been for Evra to kick Suarez very hard, in the middle of the shin, during the next tackle – instead of whining to the referee and the authorities.”

Is that preferable to the moral education from a a corrupt Fifa and an FA that can’t keep its dick in its pants and has eagerly bought into the marketing myth that footballers are role models whose every shag, tick and lie is adopted by the slack-jawed masses..?

Posted: 5th, January 2012 | In: Sports Comments (8) | TrackBack | Permalink