From the official website:
"I have spoken with the manager since the game at Old Trafford and I realise I got things wrong. I've not only let him down, but also the Club and what it stands for and I'm sorry. I made a mistake and I regret what happened. I should have shaken Patrice Evra's hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions. I would like to put this whole issue behind me and concentrate on playing football."
Ian Ayre and Kenny Dalglish have also issued apologies, with Ayre speaking about how disappointed the club are with Suarez, underlining that their assumption had been that the handshake would take place after assurances from the Ururguayan. Dalglish's statements have a similar sentiment, speaking of the responsibility all parties have in representing Liverpool, and further apologizing for his conduct in the post-match, in which he apparently responded without having seen what Suarez had done during the pre-match ceremony.
So while that's probably not the last of this whole miserable mess, it's at least a competent-seeming handling of a situation that, at times, has been unbearable to watch unfold. The apologies seem genuine enough, or as genuine as short paragraphs of words released on an official website can seem, and hopefully are ones that see the club start to move on from its close association with controversy. Shame that we won't be able to see Liverpool and controversy shake hands, though, as now we'll never know for sure if they really mean they've put their tenuous relationship behind them.
For their part Manchester United have accepted the apology, which is nice enough, and something that certainly allows for them to come out of the whole ordeal relatively unscathed. That's already been assured by the predictably damning reaction from a press collective that's pounced on even the most ambiguous of actions from Liverpool, and a snubbed handshake that would have solved world hunger was anything but ambiguous.
But in the interest of rounding off the dumbest discussion nobody wants to continue, it'll be curious to see if there is any attention paid to Rio Ferdinand's own decision to snub Suarez beyond some mealy-mouthed "I saw what he did to Patrice" retroactive justification, as well as any acknowledgement that Evra's post-match celebration was an over-exuberant effort to publicly shame the striker and a thinly-veiled solicitation of further abuse for the Liverpool man.
But that'd require we continue to focus on this. I've got little interest in ever talking about this again---this became a season-defining issue long before everyone decided that handshakes were the best way to cure racism, or not, and it's made following Liverpool a completely maddening experience. Rare have been the moments when the football's been solely about the football, with some hot-button issue attached to the club at seemingly every turn. It's been divisive in the extreme, with your value as a supporter determined by where you stood, and allowed for creation of the myth that there's definitively a right and wrong. There's not. That it's been ugly and embarrassing is about as close to truth as we have in all of this.
As part of a season preview back in August I wrote this:
5) What happens in a season without off-the-pitch drama?
It’s almost a foreign concept to consider a season without high drama for Liverpool. The football’s unfortunately been relatively benign over the past two seasons, but it’s taken place in the midst of ownership struggles and managerial turnover. Over the past few years it seems like we’ve yearned for the days of being able to focus solely on the actual matches; the first few months of last season saw a drawn-out transition in ownership followed by a change in manager at the turn of the new year. Both necessary, and both welcomed in their own way, but both things that served to distract our attentions.
The 2011-2012 season serves as one of the first in recent memory that, unless I’m missing something major, we don’t need to account for how the club survives some sort of off-pitch psychodrama. Now’s the time to get the answer to the question about what Liverpool can achieve when all the front office pieces are settled—the owners, manager, and staff seem to be perfectly placed, leaving our focus firmly placed on the football.
So that was a nice thing to write back when I was overly optimistic and probably really drunk. Also, it was completely idiotic. Drama is all that Liverpool have done consistently well this season. It'd be nice for that to change. Hopefully today's apologies are a step in a different direction---one that leaves controversy behind.
Even if the club decides to skip the handshake that'd seal it once and for all.