Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra over seven years ago. It was Suarez’s own testimony that deemed him guilty after acknowledging that he did call the Manchester United defender “negro”. His defence, that he meant the term in a friendly, was dismissed after evidence was given by language experts, who specialised in race in South America. They claimed that “negro” was very much a racist term in South America if used in an argument or between people who weren’t friends.
The FA reviewed the evidence. Suarez called Evra “negro” in the middle of an argument that came after Suarez had kicked Evra. He also pinched his skin. The incident happened in a game between two fierce rivals. The notion that in the midst of this conflict that Suarez was using this term in a “friendly and affectionate” way, as he claimed, was rightly deemed as nonsense and he was found guilty.
Either Liverpool fans haven’t read the FA report or they aren’t bothered what the damning evidence was, because Suarez was their hero and Evra was a Manc. Their players and managers turned up to the next game wearing t-shirts of support for Suarez, despite him being found guilty.
In the first game that Evra played at Anfield following the incident, Evra was booed and jeered by the crowd. One man was even seen doing monkey impressions and was later banned for four years as a result.
After the game, when Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was asked about the treatment of Evra, he was defensive of the supporters.
“Both sets of supporters were well-behaved,” he said. “There was a wee bit of banter between both fans which is brilliant because we wouldn’t want to take that away. At the end of the day I thought they were fantastic.”
It’s no wonder that Liverpool fans have persisted to boo and jeer Evra’s every touch in all the games he has played against them since, given the club haven’t ever made any public statements condemning them for giving abuse to a player for merely being the victim of racist insults.
Evra played at Anfield again on Saturday, this time for West Ham, and received the same boos and jeers, with fans repeatedly singing Suarez’s name.
After the game, Jurgen Klopp was given the opportunity to condemn this behaviour, but chose not to.
“I heard it during the game but I don’t have the same history with Evra like maybe the Liverpool supporters have so I cannot say anything about that,” Klopp said. “I only shaked hands with all of them and that’s how it is.”
What use is for Klopp and Liverpool to publicly support Rhian Brewster after he revealed the racist abuse he has suffered in his career when they fail to do anything to stop their fans treating Evra the way they do?