Having had a couple of days to digest Sunday’s drama on Merseyside, my original thoughts regarding Luis Suarez were that he is a disgrace and should be severely punished. Today these views remain unchanged, for the simple reason that this is yet another misdemeanour in a long list of unsavoury moments during the 26 year-old’s career.
However, it must also be noted that due to the deplorable state of today’s mainstream media, the fallout from the incident has been blown out of all proportion. It is sensationalism to a tee and the public have been all too quick to lap it up.
Suarez has been charged by the FA and a verdict from a three-man committee (consisting of a football league club chairman, a former professional footballer and a FA council member) is expected to announce its verdict on Wednesday. The smart money says his punishment will be on a par with Joey Barton’s 12 game ban (after his sending-off and notable afters in QPR’s final game of last season against Manchester City). No-one in the game deemed the 12 games excessive given Barton’s background.
Upon rounding-up Super Sunday, Graeme Souness, for once, was so mortified that he couldn’t string a coherent sentence together. The same could be said for his partner in crime, but then again it’s an all too regular occurrence for the not-so razor-sharp Jamie Redknapp. I can’t recall his exact words but his input into the discussion was cringeworthy enough for me to cover the ears of my six-month old nephew – “earmuffs”. When Souness did gather himself together, he demanded that the good name of The Football Club [Liverpool] be protected. The Telegraph’s Henry Winter joined in, writing an article defiantly stating that enough was enough – Liverpool should part company with their talisman.
There are always predictable cries of morals and ethics, but in reality there’s absolutely none in football. I don’t recall Winter making the same comments about his beloved Chelsea and John Terry following the former England captain’s faux pas at Anton Ferdinand plus his colourful extra curricular behaviour.
Let’s delve further into morals, ethics and footballers being role models, focusing specifically on Manchester United. Having just been crowned English league champions for a record 20th time, the Club are no strangers to controversy with star players. Where better than to begin with the “model pro” Ryan Giggs. No-one demanded his sale after he tucked into his brother’s wife – perfectly reasonable. But Suarez’s actions? “He’s got mental problems”. How about Eric Cantona viciously assaulting a fan, which should have resulted in a custodial sentence? Sir Alex Ferguson moved Heaven and Earth to ensure he stayed at Old Trafford, even after a nine-month ban. The same can be said of Rio Ferdinand. Failed drugs test – he received an eight-month ban yet stayed at United.
Anyone who suggests that I am turning Suarez into a martyr is missing the point. The point is hypocrisy. You have an example of three United players who Ferguson has blindly backed knowing their value to his side.
For Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers, this is even more so the case as Suarez is undeniably a world-class talent. Sure, the Uruguayan is a hot head but he’s clearly not the first in the football world. All his actions deserve is a lengthy ban and no more.
As an aside, David Cameron should keep his nose out of it and stick to politics – the UK economy stinks.