It is not often that a fixture between Liverpool and United gets superseded in the pre-match buildup by something not related to how the football match is going to go, but then again it is not often that a player racially abuses your club captain with no feelings of remorse, let alone an apology. Luis Suarez was banned for eight games for racially abusing Patrice Evra after blindly lying to the FA that he used the South American phrase “negrito” in a non-derogatory fashion (in the middle of a Liverpool vs United derby…to an opposition player…). The thing that has got under my skin about this particular case has nothing to do with the fact that it is Evra who is involved but more in the utterly appalling fashion in which Liverpool, notably Suarez and Dalglish, have dealt with the situation.
“I do feel sorry for the fans and for my team-mates, whom I will not be able to help during the next month. It will be a very difficult time for me. The only thing I wish for at the moment is being able to run out again at Anfield and to do what I like most, which is playing football.”
Suarez has publicly refused to give Patrice a public apology and it outrages me to think that the FA, the public or anybody affiliated with Liverpool expects Patrice to let bygones be bygones and simply shake his hand when they lineup on Saturday. Those opposing my opinion will confidently blurt out that Patrice should shake his hand ‘for the greater good’ and to gain the ‘moral high ground’. Now, I would normally tend to agree because as professionals, footballers are expected to take every game as they come, but it just simply doesn’t apply to this scenario. Why did the FA cancel the handshake prior to the QPR and Chelsea game the other week? Coincidence? Or the fact that Anton Ferdinand would never have dreamt of shaking the hand of John Terry? You decide. The FA has announced that the handshake will go ahead on Saturday, so they must be rather confident that the ban has brought justice to the case and closed it because they wouldn’t want a repeat of the Bridge/Terry saga after he bedded his ex-wife (Terry’s name pops up a lot when it comes to bad publicity doesn’t it?).
All it would take is for Luis Suarez and Liverpool to publicly apologise to Patrice for the dust to settle on this case but seeing as a player follows the example of his manager, I don’t think that we will be seeing an apology any time soon:
“It’s fantastic to have him back. He should never have been out in the first place. Luis Suarez doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone at Liverpool FC.”
If King Kenny is correct in his claims that Suarez should never have banned, then why did Liverpool choose not to appeal when they had the right to? Because Suarez was guilty, as found out, and they had no leg to stand on. Yet, his blatant contradiction by continuing the support of the guilty Suarez baffles me and surely makes Dalglish a racist? If Suarez was found guilty, served his ban but Dalglish still thinks he shouldn’t of been banned, surely that is the case? In this day and age of modern football, we shouldn’t be speaking about such neanderthal issues as racism because it is an age old issue that was kicked out of the game a long time ago. Yet, we have two of the biggest racism cases in Premier League history going on simultaneously and it is a shame because the emphasis moves away from the match itself.
I think that the professional in Evra will lead him to shake the hand of Suarez and let him get away without apologising at all, but I think it is wrong. Liverpool have dragged their name through the mud in how they have dealt with the situation and the respect I had for Dalglish as a manager has swiftly disappeared. The crowd will let their feelings be known come kick-off on Saturday and this is another page to add to the history of United and Liverpool fixtures, but the sooner Suarez and Liverpool can be mature enough to publicly apologise for the situation, the sooner we can move our thoughts on to more important issues.