After reading the written reasons behind the decision to charge and ban Luis Suarez, you would think even Liverpool fans would be forced to ditch their usual “victim” stance and admit their player had done wrong. Not just their player though, but their club, for releasing that shameful statement and then organising for their players to parade around in t-shirts supporting a man who had just been found guilty of racial abusing someone.

Apparently, I was being too kind to our friends from Pity City, with Anfield season ticket holding journalist Ben Thornley writing an embarrassing defence of Suarez in The Daily Post.

“If you have neither the time nor inclination to read the Football Association’s hefty report on their investigation into the Luis Suarez/ Patrice Evra racism row, let me save you the trouble. After two months and 115-pages, the entire case came down to one man’s word against another’s.”

The commission claim quite the opposite of this, as supported by Luis Suarez’s chosen representative, Peter McCormick OBE.

“215. It was accepted by both Mr Greaney and Mr McCormick in closing submissions that this is not simply a case of one person’s word against another.”

It’s interesting that a journalist can suggest they are saving you time by summarising the report for you, only to write the complete opposite of what was contained inside the report. The man who was paid to defend Suarez in this case agreed it wasn’t one person’s word against the other, yet this journo seems to think he knows better. Odd.

“Language experts brought in by the FA concluded that what Suarez admits to having said – “what, negro?” – wouldn’t be considered offensive in his native Uruguay, but what Evra says he hurled at him would be.”

Again, this is not true. This is what the language experts actually said:

“170. 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. 171. The word can be employed with the intent to offend and to offend in racial terms. 172. The word “negro” is by no means, however, always used offensively. The term can also be used as a friendly form of address to someone. 175. In all cases, however, when the word is used in this way [without offence] it implies a sense of rapport or the attempt to create such rapport; naturally, if the term were used with a sneer, then it might carry some of the negative connotations referred to above. 200. There are some black people in Uruguay and other areas of Latin America who object to the use of the word “negro” as a term of address, as they say it highlights skin colour when this should be irrelevant. This is the use of the word “negro” (ie as a term of address) which Suarez contended before us is acceptable, yet his view appears to be contentious with some in Uruguay and Latin America.”

The language experts explicitly stated that the use of the word “negro” was only inoffensive in Uruguay if used in a “conciliatory” way. Conciliatory? To end a disagreement or someone’s anger by acting in a friendly way. Is that what Suarez was doing? He pinched Evra and initially claimed this was to defuse the situation too but when he was cross-examined he admitted this was a lie.

Anyone who has seen the video footage can see there was no part of Suarez that was trying to behave in a conciliatory way. He was trying to wind Evra up and he was succeeding. So why on earth would anyone believe that Suarez, contradicting all his other behaviour and actions, was using the word “negro” in a friendly and endearing way?

“They decided Evra was the more credible witness, chiefly because his version of events tallied closer to the television footage of the incident than Suarez’s.”

Again, another incorrect claim from the journalist who is supposed to be summarising the report. Evra was a more credible witness chiefly because his testimony was never contradicted. Wherever possible, his version of events of what happened tallied with what the referee said, what Giggs, Valencina, Chicharito and Nani said too.

In contrast, Suarez’s testimony was contradicted by Kenny Dalglish, Damien Comolli and Dirk Kuyt. Suarez told Comolli his version of events in Spanish and Kuyt in Dutch. Dalglish, Comolli and Kuyt reported exactly the same comments, that Suarez had told them he said to Evra “because you are black”. When Suarez was interviewed, he claimed he said “why, black?”. Suarez’s defence suggested that both Comolli and Kuyt misunderstood what Suarez had said, despite him speaking in different languages to both of them, and them both misunderstanding him and coming out with identical statements to each other. Even this Liverpool fan’s website can see why the commission deemed Suarez an unreliable witness. It’s not difficult.

So yes, the video footage did help the commission decide that Evra was a more credible witness, but what their decision hinged on was the fact that Evra’s testimony was supported by everyone questioned, whilst Suarez’s was contradicted by everyone questioned.

“Essentially the Liverpool striker has been convicted on the hunch of three men.”

Again, a statement that would suggest this journalist hasn’t even bothered to read the report. Did Suarez used insulting words towards Evra during the match contrary to FA Rule E3? Were the insulting words used by Suarez include a reference to Evra’s colour within the meaning of Rule E3(2)? Yes. Suarez admitted he called Evra “negro”. Even if you completely dismiss all of Evra’s testimony, it’s irrelevant that Suarez calls black people in Uruguay “negro”. It’s irrelevant whether he thinks people will believe he was trying to make friends with Evra by calling him “negro”, after kicking him in the knee, pinching him and hitting him around the back of the head, all the midst of a game between the two most hated rivals in the country. The word “negro” in England is an insulting word which refers to skin colour and Suarez admitted that he used it. There is no defence.

With Kenny Dalglish as the example to follow, it’s not hard to see why Liverpool fans are still keen to paint Suarez and their club as the victims in all this. However, the sooner people become more bothered about trying to stop racism than they are defending their own players, regardless of what they’d said or done, the better.

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Worth reading: The FA and Luis Suarez – Reasons of the Regulatory Commission
Dalglish needs a few home truths… not more flattery
“Dalglish plumbed the deepest depths when he tweeted: ‘Let’s not let him walk alone.’ It was a cheap and demeaning attempt to evoke the tradition of a great football club in the service of one who had been found guilty by the FA of a serious offence.”
Suarez row has made clear to all where line of decency is drawn
“It can only be hoped that Liverpool Football Club and their iconic manager have the wit to stop embarrassing themselves.”




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