John Aldridge’s take on Luis Suarez’s racial abuse of Patrice Evra has always been embarrassing, but after reading his latest Sunday World column, it appears as though it’s not just his Liverpool bias which has lead him to look like an ignorant prick when it comes to racism.
To give you some context to Sunday’s column, here is a selection of some of Aldridge’s most ridiculous remarks on the issue, which come from several different articles he has written.
If Suarez is cleared then it’s only right that Liverpool should ask the FA to ban Evra because it’s very damaging for a player to be accused of something like that.
Of course, if you can’t prove that someone has done something, the accuser should be punished. I’m sure that’s what they do when a woman can’t prove that a man has raped her, right? Lock her up for accusing him without having enough evidence to prove it happened? Clearly Aldridge hasn’t given any consideration to what an impact his idea would have on trying to kick racism out of football. Why would any player report a case of racist abuse if they know they will get banned if a camera hasn’t picked it up?
The Spanish language experts even admitted that if Suarez’s version of events was true then his use of the word ‘negro’ wouldn’t be deemed racist in South America. We also know that Evra’s own United team-mates refer to him by that name and he doesn’t take offence at that.
The language experts said that the word “negro” may not be deemed racist if said between friends or in a friendly way. The fact that Suarez and Evra are not friends, were in the middle of an argument, during one of the most hate-filled games in England, proves that Suarez did use the word in a racist way. Why Aldridge things Evra’s team mates call him “negro” is beyond me. I think he’s got his stories confused, after Suarez revealed that he calls Glen Johnson “negro”.
If Suarez is guilty of anything (and I’m still not convinced he is, by the way), it is of being too honest for his own damn good. Too honest for admitting he used the word ‘negro’ in his exchange with Evra, as that gave the FA a chance to hang him out to dry in this grand manner.
The Liverpool man then hit back by using a term that is not considered to be derogatory at all back in his native Uruguay.
It appears as though Aldridge can come out with any old nonsense and get it printed, even if it directly contradicts what the independent language experts said in the report, which says: The word “negro” can have pejorative connotations, as it may be associated with low class status, ugliness, vulgar behaviour, noisiness, violence, dishonesty, sexual promiscuity etc. The word can be employed with the intent to offend and to offend in racial terms. Suarez responded with “Porque tu eres negro”. This would be interpreted in Uruguay and other regions of Latin America as racially offensive. When the noun is used in the way described by Evra, it is not a friendly form of address, but is used in an insulting way: it is given as the rationale for an act of physical aggression (the foul), as if the person deserved such an attack since they are black.
My favourite article of the lot though, which I’ve really struggled just to take selective quotes from, is entitled “Football is the biggest Luis-er”.
I cannot help but feel Suarez has been used as a scapegoat and been made an example of by the FA as they go out of their way to show they have zero tolerance on racism in their ongoing battle with their old foe Sepp Blatter at FIFA. Blatter’s comments – that racism on the pitch can be resolved by a handshake at the end of the game – caused a real stir a few weeks back, and now the FA have been made look even more foolish by coming down so heavily on Suarez.
The bigger picture must be that this massive fine and ban for Suarez has opened a real can of worms, as players will accuse an opponent of abuse of all varieties from now on. When that happens, the FA will be forced to launch investigations and may be handing out massive bans on a regular basis.
Football became close to a non-contact sport some time ago, with players getting booked and sent off for minor challenges. Now we may be getting to the stage where you are not allowed to say anything on the pitch either. At that point, the game will be impossible to control.
I’ll never forget playing a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park when some Everton fans were throwing bananas at John Barnes. I was throwing them back into the crowd that afternoon and there was no punishment for Everton after that incident. It was unforgivable, but that was the way of the world in the late 1980s.
I was regularly called a Scouse **** or an Irish **** by my opponents and, in my eyes, that is racism. Skin colour is only one form of racism, but it seems to be the one that is taken more seriously than any other kind of abuse.
What a lot of people don’t know is that Suarez’s grandfather is black, so it is pretty stupid to suggest he is a
racist. No, I believe this is a story of cultural differences getting Suarez into hot water and he is paying a heavy price for it now.
We are bound to see accusations of racist abuse rising in the weeks and months ahead and that will do the campaign to rid football of racism no good whatsoever, as it will create a nasty cloud over the English game. Liverpool have no choice other than to appeal Suarez’s punishment, but the FA have made such a strong stand that they may not want to go back on their original decision. If this eight-game ban stands, football may never be the same again.
I don’t even know where to start in picking apart and laughing at this nonsense. The Liverpool fan who was found guilty of racially abusing Evra from the stands during our next visit to Anfield has mixed race grandchildren, so I suppose it’s stupid to suggest that when he was dancing around like a monkey that it was anything to do with Evra’s race.
Still, Aldridge hasn’t just been keen to defend Suarez but attack Evra too.
The Liverpool player has been hit hard on this issue, while the United man has been portrayed as a victim and the powers that be will not want to change that one-sided script now.
Suarez was given the opportunity to go some way to making amends for saying what he did to Evra that day at Anfield. Having never apologised to Evra, ahead of kick-off at Old Trafford, Suarez refused to shake Evra’s hand.
Suarez was given his chance to put the racism row with Evra behind him and instead he chose to make the situation far worse by refusing to do what he should have. Had I been in Suarez’s position yesterday, I would probably have swallowed my pride and shaken Patrice Evra’s hand for the sake of Liverpool Football Club. Everyone was watching to see if the pair would exchange pleasantries and the Uruguayan gave up the moral high ground by refusing to do so.
Wow. It’s hard to understand why anyone would think that Suarez needed to “swallow his pride” to shake Evra’s hand, as if Evra had done something to wrong him. It’s even harder to understand why anyone would think Suarez had the “moral high ground” in the first place.
Aldridge ended that particular column with a bit of comedy though, suggesting that it wasn’t Suarez at fault for shaking his hand, rather the fault of his agent. He also suggested that Suarez, who scored 11 goals last season (6 less than Yakubu, 4 less than Grant Holt and 1 less than Steven Fletcher and Danny Graham), would be wanted by Barcelona and Real Madrid.
I may be talking out of turn here, but there is a possibility that an agent may have got into Suarez’s ear and told him to kick up a bit of a stink to make his position at Liverpool and in English football as a whole untenable. There is no evidence that was a subplot at Old Trafford, but Suarez has certainly made his life and that of Liverpool much more complicated by his refusal to shake Evra’s hand before kick-off and it wouldn’t surprise me if Real Madrid and Barcelona are soon being linked with a move for the Liverpool No 7.
Is that enough context?
On Sunday, Aldridge wrote: “Patrice Evra opened a can of worms when he started his battle with Luis Suarez over the ‘negrito’ comment that caused so much controversy last year and the John Terry/Anton Ferdinand case served to put this issue even further up the sporting agenda. In the end, where did those two cases get us? These two cases set the ball rolling to where we are now, with everyone afraid to say anything, on or off the pitch, for fear they may be accused of racism or discriminatory behaviour.”
Let’s be clear, Evra didn’t ask Suarez to racially abuse him, but in reporting what Suarez said to him, he wasn’t “starting a battle”. What an absolutely incredible thing to say. Aldridge then refers to the ‘negrito’ comment. Which comment was that? Had Aldridge bothered to read the reported published by the FA almost a year ago, he would know that Evra claimed and Suarez admitted to using the word ‘negro’. Before any details of the case were published, some newspapers speculated whether the less racist term ‘negrito’ had been used and misunderstood by Evra, but as soon as the report was published, this theory was obviously dismissed.
I thought The Guardian‘s Sid Lowe and Sachin Nakrani were bad enough in their reporting on Suarez, but Aldridge’s rubbish takes it to a whole new level. It’s incredible that the Sunday World actually pay this out of touch prat to write for them. It’s also worth reading about what a nasty piece of work Aldridge was when he managed Tranmere Rovers.
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