Well if you’re going to say something racist what do you expect…

The news that Luis Suarez has been banned for 8 games for being racist has generated, shall we say, mixed emotions among football fans and commentators. Levels of reaction vary, from defending the player to the hilt and denying any wrongdoing on any level, to feeling the ban is touch harsh, to feeling the ban isn’t anywhere near long enough.

Before anyone says anything else, I think it should be pointed out that the FA found him guilty of using racist language on a football pitch. If you disagree with this finding, the argument over his guilt is not going to be discussed here. As far as it’s possible to tell, the FA looked at the evidence, considered it and found that Suarez had been racist.

Surely an 8 game ban for being racist is appropriate? If the game is serious about racism and tackling it then it needs to hand out punishments such as this. It has to show to all players, regardless of where they’re from, that racism is not acceptable within British society and is not acceptable on the football pitch. An 8 game ban is severe but then a ban for being racist should be severe. It’s behaviour that requires severe consequences.

Over the last month or so many Liverpool fans have been defending Suarez. In the light of this finding by the FA it will be interesting to see if the tune changes, especially if the appeal that is likely to be forthcoming is unsuccessful. Mind you, I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with my club appealing against a decision where one of the players was found guilty of being racist on a football pitch.

Put aside the club partisanship (hard, I know). Forget the feeling of victimisation that often accompanies being a fan of a ‘big club’. Ignore the crowing from fans of rival teams. Look at it like this: a player was found to be guilty of being racist on a football pitch. He’s been banned for a substantial period and fined. That seems appropriate, doesn’t it?

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18 Comments on “Well if you’re going to say something racist what do you expect…

  1. No. In short it doesn’t seem appropriate.

    Given the transcription of the conversation that I saw Evra referred to Suarez’s ethnic origin before Suarez referred to Evra’s. So where is the charge against Evra.

    FA as usual get it very wrong. I do hope Liverpool appeal and I do hope that sense prevails.

  2. please tell me how anyone could be a racist againest me i am white male age 67 ,
    rember sticks and stones, why dont you all grow up

  3. FIFA will overule this – come on Sepp Blatter – Evra might well have been the instigator -you should protect BOTH PLAYERS. Come on Blatter put the arrogant F A in their place – AGAIN

  4. DJ: Have Liverpool lodged a complaint against Evra? If not, why not? If what Evra said is *so* bad why has there not been something actually done, rather than a bit of whinging. Liverpool should back themselves up with more than mealy mouthed semi-justifications for their player.

    Ragish: That comment is ludicrous.

    I have a feeling that getting away from blind club loyalty and the acrimony involved is going to be impossible in this case. As it is I personnally couldn’t care less about the impact on clubs, don’t support anyone in the Prem. I see this punishment as a forceful and timely step to tackle racism within the game.

    The question posed is whether an 8 game suspension for racist language on a football pitch is approporiate? If not, what is?

    • No Liverpool have not lodged a complaint about Evra yet. Suarez himself said he had not heard it and Liverpool only knew of the comment when Evra gave it in evidence. I am not saying that what Suarez said was right but the FA have a statement from Evra that he made reference to Suarez’s ethnic origin/race. So the two players should each be treated the same.

      To be honest I don’t think the comments by either player were particularly offensive and a fine for each of them should have been enough.

      To answer your question. The punishment should fit the crime. An 8 match ban is not appropriate for what Suarez said (borderline offensive), it’s way over the top. Especially so given that Evra who has effectively admitted the same offense has not suffered anything.

      The FA are basically saying that it’s four times better to physically assault someone ala Wayne Rooney than make any reference at all to their ethnic origin.

    • Check your facts.
      FA ‘Suarez is not a racist’
      Evra ‘Suarez is not a racist’
      Suarez grandfather is black.
      This is all based on uncorruberated witness testamony, no third party has become involved , not even team mates. This player (Evra) has been found guilty of being an unreliable witness before and has exagerrated claims (not my words folks), for which he was punished. Neither the police nor the CPS have wanted to touch this case either (can’t think why).
      The reality is this is just the FA covering their backs, while seeming to look like strong champions of justice for the racially abused (wonder what percentage of their top staff are of mixed ethinicity).
      Decide for yourselves, do not surrender your opinions to the likes of the gutter press (you know who you are.) View the facts and make an informed decision.
      As for mealy -mouthed, refer to your nearest dictionary for it’s meaning. (probably not in your house, let me know if you need the address of your nearest library.)
      Read the statement from the FA again to see what he HAS been charged with. They themselves know LFC will appeal and have the punishment commuted ( they have made allowance for this , probably halved on appeal.) One more point I love LFC, love Luiz Suarez, but if guilty the punishment is nowhere near harsh enough. ANY player or official found guilty of such pathetic, puerile and most of all disgusting behaviour, should face much stronger punishment than a short ban and a derisory fine. In Scotland offenders found guilty of sectarian behaviour can serve a custodial sentence of up to five years, stands to reason that this may be a more appropriate punishment.

  5. Irrespective of whether one views the punishment as appropriate or not, the fact is that no third party gave evidence, and that Evra has been found to have been untruthful in his evidence in the past in a similar case. Why was he not punished for lying in a case which could have seen a club official lose his livelihood? Were he to perjure himself in a court of law he would face criminal charges for doing so. Are Evra’s tender sensibilities more important than the livelihood of a mere civilian – it would appear that they are in the eyes of the F.A. Its somewhat strange that they have suddenly grown a spine, now that it’s not JT or an other England international in the dock, but a South American. Were a player to be called Ginger, Short****, Chink, Paddy, Jock or Taff, would a similar charge have been brought or such a verdict returned? Where is the consistency? Are people of other nations or colours not to be afforded the same level of protection as Afro Carribeans from construed insult? Why have the F.A. never taken any meaningful action against clubs whose fans persistently verbally abuse players and officials in a variety of ways, including racial? By meaningful, I mean the deduction of points or exclusion from competetions rather than meaningless paltry fines. It is also notable that only certain clubs appear to be subjected to the full wrath of the F.A. If this hearing is symptomatic of anything it is that Liverpool are no longer construed as a powerful club by the F.A. Would this have happened to a player from Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal or Man City based on evidence provided by a player who has been found to have lied to a hearing in the past?

    Were this to have been a court of law, Evra would be regarded as a totally unreliable witness. The case would be very unlikely to have got to a hearing, or would in all probability have been dismissed on the grounds of Evra’s palpable unreliability as a witness, were it to have got that far. Suarez’ big mistake was in admitting using a term used generally in Uruguay, which carries no negative inference, but which the F.A. were clearly hell bent on misinterpreting. Furthermore one of the three sitting in judgement is a close friend of Sir Alex Ferguson. This would not be allowed to happen in a common law situation and was clearly highly inappropriate. Their intention was to hang Suarez out to dry having hidden behind the C.P.S. on the absolutely clear case involving John Terry. I see that it has today been announced that Terry is to stand trial. Can the timing of the hugely delayed Suarez verdict and the subsequent Terry announcement be a coincidence? I’m finding it hard to believe that the F.A weren’t tipped off by someone in the C.P.S. regarding the timing of the Terry announcement. The Suarez verdict buries the Terry matter rather nicely, doesn’t it.

    Terry’s trial will take months to work through to it’s conclusion and furthermore will not be dealt with in such an irrational manner as this F.A. farce has been. Should he be found guilty, the F.A. will have no choice but to charge him, and should he be found guilty by the F.A. one would expect a similar ban to that meted out to Suarez. But by that time the European Championships will be over and Terry’s International career will be over – How very convenient.

    If the F.A. do not immediately strip Terry of the England captaincy and drop him from the squad, what message will that send regarding their stand on rascism?

  6. Another fact for your fact list – Suarez admitted saying the word.

    He may not be racist, I doubt that he is. But he said something in breach of Premier League rules which had racist connotations. Ignorance is not an excuse.

    Take your rose tinted glasses off and see the other side of the story, it isn’t a conspiracy, it isn’t anything but standing up against a racist comment.

  7. Look at the lengthy bans handed out to Ferdinand and Cantona to see that Utd dont get treated with kid gloves by the FA

  8. Very good and balanced piece re: Suarez – he’s been found guilty. Should Liverpool appeal be successful and the punishment is cut to say 4 games, does this then mean Liverpool think being racist is ‘not that bad’.

    Grand scale of things:

    Missing a drugs test – 9 month ban
    Pushing a referee over – 13 game ban
    Being racist – 8 game ban

    If this read
    Missing a drugs test – 9 month ban
    Pushing a referee over – 13 game ban
    Being racist – 4 game ban

    Then we might as well give up on this sport we once knew as ‘the beautiful game’

  9. I find the defence of Liverpool FC and their supporters baffling. The FA must have confidence in their decision making and therefore adequate evidence. What that is we will find out in good time.

    Liverpool’s statement questions the reliability of Evra, based on previous unfounded accusations may hold some sway if they didn’t then want Evra charged based on his admittance of using racist language to Suarez. Suddenly we can accept Evra’s words as the truth.

  10. Mark Laffin:
    There’s a fine line between being a racist and using racist language. A very very fine line.

    Suarez’s grandfather being black has nothing to do with it. If, say, Ryan Giggs used a racial epithet then it would still be racist, despite his background. (Not that he would, he’s a stand-up bloke apart from the shagging around).

    Don’t see what the ethnicity of the FA’s top tier has to do with anything. It’s possible to champion the cause of anti-racism while still needing to do more work on the way your organisation is set-up. I think the FA is, though slowly.

    I have read the facts and thought about it. You read this blog before? It may be a bit ranty at times but it is rarely under-informed or obvious . We mock the ‘gutter press’ and pay more attention to the better written blogosphere than the Sun.

    Also, mealy-mouthed seems an entirely appropriate description when you read the statement by LFC, which is full of accusatory language without being brave enough to actually level an accustaion or a charge.

    Kick It Out has come out and supported the decision, stating that ‘the FA has shown leadership and intent through what has clearly been a difficult and complex complaint to deal with, and invested time and expertise to ensure this outcome’. Frankly, Kick it Out is an organisation I trust more than the FA, Liverpool, Man Utd or fans of either club. If they’re happy with the process then that’s good enough for me.

    However, glad that you’re on board in terms of the seriousness of the offence (even if you disagree with the verdict in this particular case!)

  11. If Suarez gets an 8 match ban based on uncorroborated evidence by his accuser then John Terry will probably be shot by firing squad due to a pending criminal trial and damning Sky video evidence.

    You have to break a few eggs to make an omlette eh John?

  12. I also found it very odd that Lour Ouseley chairman of the Kick it Out campaign said

    “No-one is saying he’s a racist – he’s probably a very nice guy.”

    even though the supposed insult had racist overtones.

    If the case against Suarez was so cut and dried why have the police not brought charges in the same way as Terry?

  13. Pingback: The ‘racism’ keeps on coming.. « One Foot In The Game

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