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Ex-Liverpool Star With Disgraceful Stance On Racism, Evra and Suarez

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.

Poor Suarez.

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.

Criticism of Liverpool FC and Kenny Dalglish in Luis Suarez row has been over the top
Reds were right to back Suarez
Football is the big Luis-er
No happy Evra after for Suarez

The Suarez Report Broken Down on RoM

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Jim G says:

    Suhayl – My intention was not to lay into your race, my intention was to illustrate to Raf that racism and discrimination is not just confined to white V black, and (in my own personal experiences) the most bigoted displays have involved non-whites.
    I just don’t get how some people can use the ‘P’ term, yet I would get absolutely hounded if I chose to use it. I also don’t get how a perfectly innocent 70′s shortened version of a longer word – Pakistani- is now suddenly taboo. Who the fuck decided that, eh? And why were they so offended? Cos when I was a kid it was used as a term without malice, a bit like ‘Brit’ being a shortened term of a longer word…..

    Out of the 2 people I trust most at work, one is Asian, I have known him 17 years, and I regard him as a mate (though I obviously wouldn’t let him know !!!!) So sorry if I came across as being on some crusade.

    The only crusade I am on involves the original blog re: Suarez.
    And the hypocrisy of most of the people who so glibly label him a racist. Let’s be honest here, most of the people condemning him don’t give a shit about racism or race relations (why would you in your pleasant Home Counties suburbs…? ;) ), have no clue about diversity and have only taken the moral high ground because of one reason and one reason only.
    And that is it was because a Manchester United player complained about a Liverpool player. And they immediately sided with Evra. They don’t really give a toss about positive discrimination, but their tribal allegiance suddenly made them all experts in a particular Spanish dialect used in areas of Uruguay.

    And that is a bit sad.

  2. Raf's Curling Tongs says:

    Jim G – let me state it unambiguously, yes, i am saying that the police in this country is institutionally racist, though once again this is not an argument about intent. The statistic I gave you came from an article in the Guardian, which was left undisputed by any police force in the country; as the figures were a matter of public record. Bear in mind that section 60 has nothing to do with reported crimes, its purely based on the police officer’s assumption on who they think intends to commit a crime. What really concerns me is how you think of this as a laughing matter. The evidence I have given for my argument and my views is on a national not personal level, but once again you choose to ignore it and laugh it off. The reason i gave you the stat is simple; I believe as many social theorists do, that a young black male is more than 20 times as likely to be stopped and searched because of the engendered view in society that, by being young, black, and male; he is more likely to commit a crime.

    Did you laugh it off because you think the stat is unbiased? That the police are acting purely on their experiences of criminal behaviour? Or do you think it is justified that the police think that young black males are 28 times as likely as their white counterparts to commit crimes? If so, where’s the evidence?

    Your point to Suhayl – There is absolutely nothing innocent about the word ‘Paki’. Regardless of how it started out, as soon as a white person used it in reference to someone who was not of Pakistani origin it became racist. Throughout the 70′s and 80′s it was used not to describe where someone was from, intead it was a blanket term for anyone with brown skin, be they Indian, Bangladeshi, Afhghani, and later Persian or Middle Eastern. This later became synonymous with other things which I don’t see the point in listing, because they are all quite petty and horrible. You asked “who the fuck decided that ['paki' is a racist word]?” It’s quite simple; racist white people. But if what you say is true, and you live in a widely subcontinental community, then I’m surprised you’ve never bothered to ask anyone why it would upset them. Maybe the likely reason is that you don’t actually care enough.

    On double standards Jim G. It’s once again really simple: A brown person can call another brown person a paki, in the same way a black person can call another black person a nigga, without being racist. This is not complicated? When you say something about your own race it isn’t racist. Anyone of another race using the words cannot use them without the words having their original racist connotations.

    By the way, I’m perfectly aware that people of other races besides white people are guilty of racism. Where did I argue otherwise? It was you in fact that pointed out that your only experiences of racism are from ethnic minorities. Maybe someone should point out to you that white people can be racist?

  3. Jim G says:

    Raf – (Sigh) You really are like a dog with a bone, aren’t you?

    Any right-minded individual will have recognised my comment about the Police Force being institutionally racist, the mock question marks, and the caveat of “Lol. Well I never…” as being IRONIC. In fact, it is the worst-kept secret since Imogen Thomas tweeted “I’m shagging a Prem footballer. Guess who….?” Don’t waste your breath preaching to the converted, because I was actually agreeing with you. Pity the huge slice of fried potato on your shoulder prevented you from realising this.
    (It is interesting you weren’t as outraged over alleged Police corruption and criminality regarding other issues, as you are with the racism issue, though.)

    Again, for balance, the Inland Revenue and Police sometimes utilise a form of ‘means test’, ie. if a person is claiming benefits, or not paying VAT, but lives in a huge house with a selection of top-of-the-range vehicles on the drive, then they (may) be involved in nefarious activities. Likewise, if a youth is living in a complete shit-hole but drives a brand new Audi or Beemer, then they (may) have obtained this by illicit means. So it could be that some youths are stopped not because they may commit a crime, more that they may have already done so to fund their lifestyle. Just a thought.

    With your penchant for Statistics, I am surprised you haven’t done some research into Ejections and Arrests for Racist Chanting and Racist-related Incidents in football grounds over the last 3 or 4 years. I think you may be surprised to find out that there were considerably more racially-aggravated incidents at Old Trafford than at Anfield. You will probably argue that OT is a lot bigger so the percentage of “racists” attending games is going to be affected, whereas I will simply argue my original point that (some) Man Utd fans are just hypocrites who don’t give a hoot about diversity. And their mock outrage was based on the Utd-LFC rivalry, and little else. But I am sure they are revelling in taking the moral high ground for a while.

    Your double-standards point is interesting, and one that I was trying to edge you towards.
    You say a brown person can call a brown person a name that I am not allowed to use, and black person can call another black person a name without it being racist. Well, let’s just have a quick look at Luis Suarez. He clearly isn’t white (or brown, or yellow) so I guess he must be black. A quick look at his grandfather confirms this. It’s in his DNA. And not millennia ago, like a lot of us……
    So he is surely allowed to call a black man “negro” without causing offence.
    Or is that too obtuse for you?

  4. Raf's Curling Tongs says:

    “Don’t waste your breath preaching to the converted,”

    If I’m preaching to the converted why make the comment in the first place? You said “we live in very tolerant and racially equal society”. I said there’s engendered and institutional prejudices throughout it. It’s quite simple. I disagreed with you. I gave you evidence as to why. I made a point.

    “I was actually agreeing with you. Pity the huge slice of fried potato on your shoulder prevented you from realising this.”

    See there’s the difference between us Jim. When I made an argument and you disagreed with me. I took what you said on board, thought you were right, and retracted my statement. I even went as far as to put it in a separate line so it couldn’t be missed. You made your point. I accepted it. But when I made my point you felt the need to embed it in what you obviously thought was a very humorous ironic statement. You couldn’t just say; “Fair enough, point taken.” I’ve got no problem with irony, but it’s infinitely easier to appear ‘ironic’ if you weren’t going against something you’ve already said you firmly believe.

    You seem to sporadically bounce around between what could be friendly banter, sensible commentary, deliberate taunting, and throwing abuse. You’ve made it clear that if you met me in the street you wouldn’t like me regardless of my football affiliation. I’ve stated firmly that I could not give a fuck. Which is why I’ve not bothered with humour or banter or needless vitriol. You clearly came on here to try and wind people up, mainly me at the moment; hence your need for the; “dog with a bone” comment. The thing is it doesn’t. It’s so obvious it just makes you sound like an idiot. You clearly don’t take the discussion seriously at all but I do. Because there may be others reading this who are concerned about racism in society. How behaviour and words can be construed regardless of intent because they genuinely don’t want to offend people.

    I don’t actually have a chip on my shoulder, I just have a point to make. Every time you say something that makes you sound bigoted, racist, or ignorant I just call you up for it. In a similar way to you continually banging the drum about me having a chip on my shoulder.

    “It is interesting you weren’t as outraged over alleged Police corruption and criminality regarding other issues, as you are with the racism issue, though.”

    Two points about this. Firstly, the point of the discussion was racism. If you wanted to meander off somewhere else feel free, I was just sticking to the point at hand. Secondly ‘outrage’ is far too strong a word for my feeling of institutionalised racism in Britain. I don’t feel any outrage as such about it. I’ve lived it as I made clear earlier, seen it regularly, been affected by it in my youth, went on to study it at length, and now discuss many aspects of it regularly as part of my work. I think if you understand enough of the roots and reasons for something you just don’t feel as much about it. But this isn’t me saying I don’t care about it, as is obvious.

    Not really sure what you’re saying, about but are you seriously trying to argue that a portion of black youths get stopped and searched because their lifestyle seems to be beyond their means? How would this work exactly? He’s on a council estate, but he’s black and he’s wearing a gold chain, so he’s probably done something illegal? This to me is hilarious.

    As far as the stats are concerned for ejections as a result of racist abuse at Old Trafford and Anfield can you provide a link? I’ve searched but not found anything.

  5. Jim G says:

    Raf – I made it perfectly clear that if I met you in the street I would “probably be mistrustful of you, if not openly hostile. But that is nothing to do with the fact that you are a black man, and everything to do with the fact that I imagine you would be sporting that horrific tea-towel that currently masquerades as your Home shirt.” It’s your football team I don’t like, or trust, not your skin.

    If you wish to brand me an idiot or a bigot because I don’t agree with SOME of your views, that’s up to you. I came on here purely because my NewsNow link flagged up John Aldridge / Luis Suarez, and my interest got the better of me. And I came on here not to wind people up, merely to suggest that a lot of the Utd supporters who are suddenly experts on racism and diversity are little more than hypocrites.

    Your final point is silly. I don’t believe the Police would stop a youth (and I left out the word black) for wearing a gold chain, more for the vehicle they are actually driving. And I deliberately did not mention that the car of choice for a lot of young black males happens to be a top-of-the range BMW because I did not want to stereotype. From personal experience, I used to get followed by the Police at least once a week (usually driving home late on a Thursday). I changed my car from a sports model Escort to a more modest mid-range Astra and the rear-mirror ‘intimidation’ (for want of a better word) stopped.
    My point was, it is the vehicle they follow, not necessarily the occupant.

    I have some stats for ground ejections / arrests, but they aren’t the ones I originally read, and are consequently less damning towards United than I remember. I can’t find the latest ones. Presumably they have been moved as a conspiracy towards me! So sorry for that.

    Finally, RIP Kenny Morgans.

  6. Raf's Curling Tongs says:

    Jim G – As I said in my previous post, I’ve dispensed with the branding or labels, but as I also said you have said certain things which make you sound a certain way. By pointing each one of them out it gives you an opportunity to either reconfirm what you are saying or retract it, or convince me that I’m wrong.

    Your mention of Aldridge and the Sunday World leads me to something I should have posted a while back. I have it on good authority from someone who deals with print journalism regularly that the paper has an agenda against Evra. They printed a story that this was the 3rd time Evra had made accusations of racism. THIS IS FLAT OUT UNTRUE. The editor of the paper was contacted concerning this but no response was given. Because there was no evidence to back up this claim.

    On the Home Office figures; I’d expect this year’s to be radically different as clubs will be more likely to crack down.

    Hat’s off to you Jim for the words about Kenny Morgans.


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