The phantom Suarez handshake…

This whole situation just makes me feel sick. The issues between Suarez and Evra have just got way out of hand now. So much bad feeling and negative energy around the two clubs.

The latest news is the triple apology from Suarez, Kenny and Ayre. All hands to the public relations pumps.

I have so many mixed feelings about the causes of the issue and how it’s all playing out. The whole thing started (contrary to popular belief) with Evra insulting Suarez’s sister is graphic terms, in Spanish. Evra started this conversation, in Spanish. Suarez then reacted by using the reference ‘negro’ several times. ‘Negro’ in Spanish means ‘black’. He was referring to him by his skin colour, that much is clear. One of the main reasons the official report took so long to bring together was the cultural background of the two players and the use of the word ‘negro’ in Uruguay.

I said in my previous post on this that whatever the cultural background or use of the word ‘black’, a player or person in this country must follow the social codes of this country, diverse as they are. Suarez must have known referring to someone as ‘negro’ or ‘black’ would not be acceptable.

But, I don’t believe he is a racist, and this is where the support from within the club has come from, not as a reaction to what he said, which I believe is not at issue – he said what he said. Also, his Grandad in Uruguay is black and he has many black friends but this doesn’t condone what he said.

But, blind support is not good enough – you have to have the courage to say something is wrong or has gone too far, or that you disagree with something. Supporting a football club can polarise views like nothing else and it can be very hard to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

The issue which the thousands of cameras and media people at Old Trafford picked up on is Suarez’s refusal to shake Evra’s hand. My feeling on this is that he really really should have shaken his hand. It’s obvious they really don’t like each other but there is far more at stake here than just their own personal feelings. The conduct of these big teams and big players has a huge impact on children and adults alike and the way these ‘professionals’ behave indirectly affects the behaviour of the population, in school playgrounds and workplaces around the country.

The other way to see it is you have to be true to yourself and not be dishonest in your conduct. This would include the choice of Suarez to not shake the hand of someone who he very much dislikes and who has taken many opportunities to heighten the sense of victimisation, such as by officially declaring that Suarez called him a n*gger 10 times.

Whatever the issue, I have to look at the much bigger picture and the consequences of the issue – these guys are role models for millions of children across the world. They have a responsibility to not incite anger, violence and tensions. Their actions have considerable impacts and this whole issue badly needs to be brought to a close before something really serious happens.

The official report was very interesting and the panel of language experts went to considerable lengths to set out the different interpretations from the point of view of the two sides. Their conclusions resulted in the 8-game ban and a large fine for Suarez.

‘But the faults are not all on one side. Evra is an easily roused character and his cavorting in celebration of Saturday’s victory was, as even Ferguson noted, foolishly provocative. Copies of Red Issue, one of the most prominent United fanzines, were confiscated on Saturday when they were found to contain Ku Klux Klan masks emblazoned with the words “Suárez is innocent”. And chants can be heard from the Old Trafford fans in celebration of the death of 96 Liverpool fans at Hillsborough 23 years ago. The poison and the stupidity flow both ways.’ – from an article by Richard Williams

The match itself was disappointing with Liverpool lacking precision in possession and passing, with their final ball into the box being sloppy. I would rather just settle this issue for good and let everyone look forward to Liverpool’s first Wembley cup final since 1996, coming up on 26th of February. YNWA.



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