Date:Wednesday December 28 2011
A few things have irked me about the Evra v Suarez racism row recently.
When the case first arose so many were instantly dismissing Evra's claims due to the fact that 'he`s played the racism card before'.
Now the statement itself is completely ignorant and ill informed, Evra unfortunately does have a history of racism claims following him but through no fault of his own.
The Steve Finnan case was brought up by a deaf fan who thought he lip read a racist remark aimed at Evra from Finnan. Evra himself admitted he heard nothing and the case was dropped. No racism card played there.
The second incident involving an altercation between Evra and the Chelsea grounds-man once again saw a racism claim arise though the claim never came from Evra but Mike Phelan and once again Evra admitted he heard nothing of the sort. No racism card played there either.
It wasn't the ignorance of the statements that bothered me though, people will believe what they want, they will look skin deep, read the sensationalist 'Evra racism row' headlines and come to their own conclusions without digging any deeper.
What bothered me was the dismissing itself, now whether a player has a history of racist claims following him or not each claim should be treated like a first.
Racism is a very serious thing, something no one should be exposed to and as such it should never be taken with a pinch of salt but with the utmost seriousness every time.
The double standards involved in the whole affair were frustrating to watch. To the public eye Evra was lying, he's made these claims before and he's doing it again out of spite, bitterness and jealousy whilst Suarez, despite have a far from glamorous history of biting, cheating, gesticulating, etc, etc, was clearly innocent.
People weren't discussing the possible punishment for Suarez if found guilty of racism but what punishment would Evra receive when found guilty of making false accusations.
Personally speaking I don't think there should be a punishment for getting accusations wrong. What message does it send out if a player is banned because he made a racism claim which wasn't proven guilty? What if the accused is found innocent only through a lack of evidence against him?
You're effectively asking the victim to not only report it but have evidence supporting it which might not be available. Then finally we got a decision, Suarez was proven to be guilty of making a racist remark and received a fair 8 game ban and charged, by today`s footballing wage standards, a small fee.
Case closed right? Nope.
Liverpool released one of the most childish, hysterical and unprofessional club statements I've ever seen. Their loyalty to Suarez is admirable, their honesty and emotion expressed is a breath of fresh air in what's fast becoming a plastic, cotton wrapped game but the statement itself is school boy standard.
With racism being such a sensitive issue Liverpool should've took greater care but instead posted a 'how can I be racist when I've got black friends?' argument in defence of Suarez whilst playing a pathetic 'Evra racially abused Suarez in Spanish' blame game.
No one is questioning whether Suarez is a racist or not. It's pretty evident that he's not and a single racist remark does not make someone a full blown racist.
The issue arises from the fact that he did use a racist remark, something he admitted himself and something Liverpool are in complete denial of. It's not a case of taking one word over another, favouritism or unjust treatment and before making such accusations perhaps the club should wait for the report to be published.
As I stated before their support for Suarez is admirable but wearing Suarez shirts during the build up game to the Liverpool v Wigan game was insensitive and a bad move.
They don't tolerate racism yet fully support a player who made a racist remark by his own admittance. Liverpool is quickly digging itself a whole in which if their appeal is unsuccessful they will have a hard time getting out of.
The racist term 'negrito' itself has cause a bit of an uproar. A repeated argument is that Suarez firstly didn't realise it was a racist word as it isn't treated as such in South America and secondly the word without context has no sinister meaning.
Well firstly, we're not in South America and here in England the word is deemed racist and therefore shouldn't be said. Liverpool should've took it on themselves to educate Suarez as to what he can and cannot say.
Secondly, Suarez admits to saying it whilst Evra accused him of saying it repeatedly and despite seeing it causing Evra distress he continued to say it. Whilst he might not off understood the full implications of what he was saying, he saw Evra didn't like and looked to antagonise him.
To me there is no argument, Suarez is at fault and the punishment was fair. I can only iterate what I said before, I don't believe Suarez is a racist nor did he intend the racist remark but all the same ignorance isn't an excuse.
Best of luck to him on his appeal, hopefully one of the Premier Leagues best strikers and most exciting players can reduce his ban. I would like to commend Evra for being brave and bold enough to come forward and bring up an issue which is largely brushed under the carpet.
I'm proud and slightly surprised by the stance the club took in which it stayed in the background of the whole thing and never commented on it. Hopefully we'll see the end of this sooner rather than later.
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Date:Wednesday December 28 2011
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