Tell me, have you adopted a firm position on this whole Luis Suárez farrago, yet? Are you correctly entrenched, ready to expound with Herculean conviction as to why the player should either be banished, following dental extractions, to a lunar punishment colony, or instead, be celebrated as a maverick, a masticatory magician of modern football whose instincts should not be curbed? You haven't? You mean, like your scribbler, you are a touch headspun by recent events, a shade emotionally conflicted and not at all sure how to feel? Well then, at least, dear reader, you are honest.
As this latest utterly avoidable, thoroughly daft storm-of-his-own-making engulfs Suárez, the brainpans of most right-thinking individuals have been addled by thick-coming fancies and troublous thoughts. Over the last few days I have half heartedly contemplated that it would be a blesséd joy to be possessed of the type of mind that can so easily swing to violent extremes without briefly alighting on the stormy seas that separate the polar positions. Clearly, the Uruguayan's act was idiotic, clearly it cannot go unpunished but why did it happen? Again? What is the correct way to react to and sanction such lunacy? As matters stand the only thing of which I'm reasonably sure is that FIFA have not chosen wisely.
Not a single person, whose opinion I would value, can be utterly unequivocal on this. For most, there is an affection or admiration for the player that colours everything. That is thoroughly understandable and should not be frowned upon in an effort to seize moral high ground or exude right-on smugness. Since when was there anything even vaguely logical about being a football fan? We're in it for the emotions and should not feel the need to self-flagellate when they become part of our decision making and opinion forming.
There are, of course, several unhelpful ways to behave. So many trolls emerged from beneath their bridges yesterday in response to my reasonably balanced piece on the not-yet-delivered FIFA verdict, that I fear the world of fantasy literature was short-staffed. It is arguable that much of the Uruguayan reaction and the quotes from Suárez himself fall into that category. Outside of his homeland, nobody, except for Diego Maradona, is really ready to buy Luisito as a victim. It's not so much that that ship has sailed as that it's been retired from the fleet and scuttled. Suárez is no victim. Even when it comes to the sentence imposed by FIFA, the player cannot reasonably complain. His club, however, surely can. Many of its supporters most certainly do.
With adidas considering their position as his sponsor and the online betting firm 888poker dumping him "following his actions" (I know. It's not just you. Wow.), many have begun to suggest that Suarez has brought ruin upon himself. However, for every clothing manufacturer that wavers there will be two knocking down his door and for every gambling company wanting to steal some badly needed moral superiority there will be a plethora who'll revel in the striker's infamy. All the while, Suarez will draw his monopoly money from the coffers of Liverpool Football Club. Ruin, then, is not a worry. The player's own well-being, whilst risibly banned from even training with his teammates, is far more of an issue.
How many of us really see a version of reality in which Suárez trains alone until November, before seamlessly returning to the Liverpool fold? What happens to the man's mind over that period? The stories about possible legal action from Liverpool are very vague indeed and one wonders if the club have taken this latest implosion as a very grand sign that it may be time to cash in on their asset, lest the next ban be a lifetime one. Certainly, although the not-at-all hypocritical noises coming from Real Madrid are that the player is no longer in their thoughts, the opposite would appear to be the case with Barcelona, with a raft of fairly prominent journalists and news agencies keeping the link on heavy rotation.
No doubt, many of you have been having the home-made transfer committee conversation. These are often fraught and stabby affairs, based as they are on incomplete information, other people's money and personal opinion. They are rather akin to when, as group of young children, you and your friends were given a ten euro note between you to go and buy sweets. I want this one, you want that one, we both want the other one and we want to keep some money too, in case our favourites, currently out of stock, come in later.
Of course, the initial fear was that FIFA's blanket ban from all footballing activities meant that any transfer of Suarez was impossible but the organisation's press officer Delia Fischer confirmed that a potential switch wouldn't be prevented by the ban. "A transaction between two institutions has nothing to do with the player's punishment," she helpfully clarified. So those stories? They won't be going away. In fact, only last night on Twitter we were treated to the delightfully mad tale of how Barcelona would likely require an anti-biting clause to be inserted into any potential contract with Suárez. Oh how I LOLed at this;
Barcelona still willing to sign Luis Suarez if he apologizes for latest incident and accepts anti-biting clause in contract. [sport marca]— barcastuff (@barcastuff) June 27, 2014
Such stuff may well be madness but one wouldn't be in the least surprised to see the currently high position of the needle on the batshit-o-meter rising further. This is Luis Suárez, after all. The man's brilliance is matched by his mania and whilst I am still one of those morally bankrupt types who dearly wants to be entertained by his nonpareil virtuosity next season, I am aware that many reading this would not be opposed to seeing him bedecked in the raiment of the blaugrana provided the Catalonians oblige Liverpool Football Club with a tidy amount of cash. Hold on to your hats. This thing is only starting.