Nobody could believe it, including Kenny Dalglish, when Luis Suarez refused to shake hands with Patrice Evra ahead of United’s recent victory over Liverpool. Suarez quickly apologised for his decision to shun Evra’s hand and shocked everyone. It was the first time that Liverpool had accepted any blame in the whole disgraceful affair.
Continuing with Liverpool’s more typical approach, which has lead to the chant of “always the victim, it’s never your fault” being sung at Old Trafford, Johnson has claimed that it was in fact Evra who refused to shake hands. This is obviously a bizarre claim given that Suarez and the club released an official statement apologising whole-heartedly for the player not shaking Evra’s hand.
Then again, Suarez did reveal that Johnson allows the Uruguayan to call him “negro”, so we shouldn’t be too alarmed that the England right-back has such a relaxed view on racism.
“Evra was clever at Old Trafford,” said Johnson. “Because – I’m not being funny – but if I wanted to shake your hand I would stick it right out in front of me like that. But if my hand is down here, almost by my side, then it’s because I really don’t want to shake your hand. Luis didn’t shake his hand because Evra’s hand was down there. What else is Luis supposed to do? Would you go to shake someone’s hand if their hand is way down there by their side? Course not. But then, because Luis didn’t do it, Evra has pulled him back by his arm as he walked on, as if to say to everybody: “Look, I wanted to shake his hand and he didn’t…” He’s following Luis with his eyes as if to say: “Right he’s gone, he’s gone (past me) so I’ll pull him back now…” Evra probably stayed up all night thinking about how to do that. The whole thing was ridiculous.”
As if his bizarre paranoia wasn’t enough, Johnson went on to argue that when Suarez called Evra a “negro” last year, he didn’t mean it in offensive way. Despite it being a game between the two biggest rivals in the country, in which Suarez had already kicked Evra and hit him around the head, Johnson genuinely believes that Suarez repeatedly used the word “negro” as a “term of endearment”.
“What people don’t appreciate is that these things stick with people and it can ruin careers,” he continued. “He could get almost forced out of Liverpool. He’s a good lad and a fantastic player and all he wants to do is get on and play football. I can’t understand how people don’t get that in his culture the word “negro” or “negrito” is genuinely normal. Just because he’s out of his country he is not going to stop using his mother tongue. If we went to another country, we would use our slang, wouldn’t we? I can’t see why somebody can get in trouble for using his culture in another country.”