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Luis Suárez Strikes Again

Fresh quotes from Luis Suárez's autobiography and the reactions to them have further underlined peculiar standards that many football fans have. Maybe it's time for a reassessment.

Denis Doyle

Liverpool could do with Luis Suárez at the moment. He's back in the "active duty" conversation after making his debut for Barcelona, an event that was unfortunately delayed. Naturally, El Pistolero made a contribution in attack as he created a goal Neymar. Sadly for the Uruguayan superstar, Barcelona were defeated in El Clásico in his first game for the club. 'Twas the curse of the number 22. Alas.

There have been some interesting revelations from a certain player's autobiography, Crossing The Line: My Story, that's being serialised in The Guardian. The Liverpool Echo picked up the story; the quotes are quite interesting indeed. Liverpool's former number seven was banned and fined for racially abusing Patrice Evra in late 2011. However, not only does the player remain steadfast in his proclamations of innocence, but he also seems to that there were other avenues that more could have been done with his case.

Once the formal letter from the FA had reached the club, I don’t really think we knew the best way to go about dealing with it. The lawyers took control of the case. They said that it would be two or three games if any, as if the number of games rather than clearing my name was the most important thing. Looking at it now with a cooler head, I don’t think we handled it well. We were not able to put across that this word was used in Spanish and that it has nothing to do with the 'negro' word as it is pronounced and used in English.

Oh dear. Intentions are important. Clearly. One fitting example would be apologising for biting an opponent to satisfy public opinion and secure a move elsewhere. Upon reflection, is it fair for the Barcelona striker to not fully appreciate Liverpool's support on such a difficult issue? How else could his case have been stated?

Liverpool as a club supported Luis Suárez throughout most of his "ordeal" at the time to an alarmingly embarrassing degree. The players wore ridiculous t-shirts in support of the player, something that legend and then-manager Kenny Dalglish described as "fantastic" in the aftermath of a welcome PR disaster. Liverpool probably did too much as a club in an attempt to please a star player without possessing the necessary understanding of the situation.

Some believe that the Dalglish's handling of the controversy contributed to the loss of his job, while others have been confused by Liverpool fans' continued devotion to a player who has constantly ignored the welfare of the club in both his actions and reactions to various controversies. Personally, I find these approaches to be both reasonable and fair ones to make.

Of course, Luis Suárez is an excellent player and is one who would have continued to produce excellence in Liverpool colours for many years. His intensity, dribbling, creativity, goals, competitive spirit, movement, consistency, and durability make him one of the world's best. Although he's no longer a Liverpool player, he would do well to realise that the club and fans supported him in a manner that was far more than he actually deserved. Would other clubs have gone as far Liverpool did to defend their player in the same situation?

In a heated argument with another player, Luis Suárez uses a term that he should not have turned to. I wouldn't expect anyone to use that term with me if I was in an argument with them. If a Spanish person called me "negro" or "negrito" in Spain, I would be offended. It is not acceptable and is considered offensive. Use the word multiple times and it's far worse than using the word once. However, once is quite enough.

Luis Suárez can protest his innocence repeatedly and claim the reaction to everything he does is magnified. Forget about Patrice Evra, Ottman Bakkal, Branislav Ivanović, and Giorgio Chiellini for a moment. None of them can be blamed for what Luis Suarez did and it's the same for the English media, Liverpool FC, and his representatives. How Luis Suárez can remain a perpetual victim of machinations higher and beyond his wronged soul, is worthy of its own five season television series. Get some great writers, place a call to executives at HBO or AMC, and find some talented actors sink their teeth into meaty roles. Let's tell The Luis Suárez Story to all who are yet to see the truth.

Should Liverpool have allowed Luis Suárez to parade his Barcelona shirt at Melwood, take pictures and smile for the cameras? It's strange seeing Kenny Dalglish present the player with the Golden Shoe and finding out about Steven Gerrard's personal message that was played during the ceremony. This isn't to question their respective personal relationships with Suárez but to wonder in amazement that the club will continue to be associated with him. Unbelievable. What next? Liverpool did too much for Luis Suárez and fans can stop defending him as if he's still "our player" in this curious approach to judging club representatives.

It is telling that some Liverpool fans started to seriously question Suárez's character only after he had left the club. The only other time where Liverpool fans generally seemed to feel let down was when Arsenal was viewed as a better choice than Liverpool. It wasn't the racial abuse, and it wasn't the player's second career bite. It was the betrayal of the club that matters more than anything. It's not completely unjustified, it just sharply highlights the nature of supporting players in football and sport in general.

Fans will do almost anything to find doubt in any accusation levelled at a player and the list of players who have been involved in physical attacks, violence against women, drugs, addiction, abuse, racist abuse, and more is longer than most would care to admit. These charges often drift away as fans, clubs, managers, and directors focus on what those players can do for the club. However, have and express ambitions to play elsewhere as a professional footballer? Et tu!

The third bite was when the end was nigh but still, there are those who will ride to the very end with Luis Suárez. More quotes and stories will come out during the serialisation of his autobiography. His own bites are apparently "relatively harmless" and just wait for more fun yet to come. He says he isn't excusing his behaviour yet continues to do so. You just can't get enough? Maybe after all that's happened, you should probably have had your fill.

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