Following the crowning of Luis Suarez of PFA Player of the Year, the media has attempted to re-write history and pretend that the Liverpool striker didn’t racially abuse Patrice Evra.
In The Mirror’s write up, Liverpool fan Jim Boardman writes: “He found himself in trouble in his first full season at the club, handed an eight game ban imposed by an independent panel following accusations of racial abuse towards Patrice Evra.”
In the BBC’s write up by Phil McNulty, under the title “Restoration of a reputation”, there is not a single mention of Suarez racially abusing Evra.
Maybe the media need reminding of a few things. This wasn’t just an allegation by Evra. Suarez was found guilty and banned for eight games. Not only that, Liverpool didn’t even appeal the decision.
For those of you who didn’t read the report (and every single Liverpool fan, apparently), here is a summary of some of the key findings and the reasons why Suarez was found guilty.
- The first time Suarez claimed that his use of the word “negro” was “conciliatory” was after the reports from the language experts were made available, where they claimed if the word “negro” was used in a “conciliatory” way, it wouldn’t be regarded as racist in Uruguay. The language experts asserted that “negro” was an offensive term if being used during an argument, which is when it was used.
- Suarez initially claimed that he pinched Evra on the arm to “defuse the situation”. When he was cross examined, he admitted this was not true.
- This was not a case of one man’s word against another, which is a fact that was accepted by both Mr Greaney (FA’s representative) and Mr McCormick (Suarez’s representative) in closing submissions.
- Kenny Dalglish tried to sway Marriner and Dowd from the start by saying “hasn’t he done this before?”. Patrice Evra has never made claims of racism against someone, unfounded or otherwise.
- In an attempt to add further weight to Dalglish’s point, Dirk Kuyt falsely claimed that Evra was telling people he had only been booked by the referee because he was black. The commission found this to be entirely untrue.
- Dalglish claimed that Suarez had been “taunted” by Evra, suggesting that Suarez’s response of “you are black” was following Evra saying “you are South American.” If this was true, Suarez wasn’t using the word “negro” in a friendly way at all, as he claimed, rather as an insult. Regardless, Suarez confirmed that being called “South American” was not an insult.
- Comoli stressed he knew how serious the allegations were so being fluent in Spanish wanted to make sure they had their story straight on what Suarez had said. After speaking to Suarez, he then went to tell Marriner and Dowd Suarez’s version. There was no mention of Suarez calling Evra “negro” in response to Evra telling him not to touch him though, which is what his defence later hinged on. They initially claimed Suarez said “you are black” then in the next set of interviews, Suarez claimed he said “why not, black?” after Evra told him not to touch him.
- Suarez claimed that he did not call Evra a “negro” when they were in the goal mouth, rather after the referee had called them over to speak to them and he then touched Evra. However, his version of events contradicts the testimony of Evra and referee. Evra says that as soon as the referee called them over, Evra reported the racial abuse he had just received, and the referee confirmed this.
- The panel judged Suarez to be an unreliable witness after lying about why he pinched Evra and lying about when he called Evra “negro”.
- Suarez’s defence claim that Evra made up Suarez saying he kicked him because he was black and that he didn’t talk to blacks. They claim that because Suarez had kicked Evra in the knee, Evra wanted revenge, so fabricated the whole story. This means they are suggesting that Evra feigned outrage after his exchange with Suarez and lied to the referee, that he lied to Giggs on the pitch when he asked him what was the matter, and that he lied to Valencia, Chichartio, Nani, Anderson and Sir Alex Ferguson in the dressing room immediately after the game. The commission rejected the defence’s suggestion that the accusations were just an elaborate plot for Evra to get revenge on Suarez for being kicked.
- Contrary to popular belief amongst scousers, Suarez did not call Evra “negrito”. In Suarez’s own testimony, this word is never used.
- Comolli claimed that after the game Evra went to Canal+ and demanded that he was allowed to report the racial abuse he had just received. The journalist who interviewed Evra confirmed this opposite of this was true, and that Evra knew the journalist well and he could tell that he was upset. Evra told the journalist off the record what had happened, but the journalist confirmed he asked the question when Evra was being filmed regardless.