January 03, 2012
As promised, The FA released the full 115-page "appeal-proof" written reasons the independent commission found Luis Suarez guilty of using racial insults against Patrice Evra and subsequently banned him for eight matches. In Liverpool's initial, fiery and accusatory official statement on the decision, they made it clear that they would be fighting it tooth and nail. The whole team even wore T-shirts to show just how much they planned to support him through this.
And now, after having a look at those detailed reasons behind the decision, Liverpool have announced they will mercifully surrender and not appeal. However, the stompy statement in which they made the announcement featured logic almost as baffling as their original proclamation.
Here's the club's latest (and hopefully final) statement on the matter, in full:
It is our strongly held conviction that the Football Association and the panel it selected constructed a highly subjective case against Luis Suarez based on an accusation that was ultimately unsubstantiated.
With an opening like that, you'd think they were about to announce that they will, in fact, appeal the decision. I mean, if it was a "highly subjective case" and the accusation was "ultimately unsubstantiated," how could you not? Maybe there's a few details -- like, say, 115-pages worth -- being overlooked here...
The FA and the panel chose to consistently and methodically accept and embrace arguments leading to a set of conclusions that found Mr. Suarez to "probably" be guilty while in the same manner deciding to completely dismiss the testimony that countered their overall suppositions.
Again with the accusations of a determination to find Suarez guilty. But maybe instead of some grand conspiracy against Suarez, they accepted the arguments that made the most sense from numerous perspectives and dismissed the testimony that didn't make as much sense? That's an insane theory, I know -- especially considering an independent commission was involved. So lets stick with the FA and the independent commission contriving their decision to go along with "overall suppositions" we have no proof of them having.
Mr. Evra was deemed to be credible in spite of admitting that he himself used insulting and threatening words towards Luis and that his initial charge as to the word used was somehow a mistake.
So because Evra said he also insulted Suarez, that makes his claim that Suarez racially insulted him back makes him less credible? It might not exactly make his accusations against Suarez more credible -- I can see that -- but how does it make him less credible? If anything, it helps produce a more logical picture for why such an exchange would happen.
The facts in this case were that an accusation was made, a rebuttal was given and there was video of the match. The remaining facts came from testimony of people who did not corroborate any accusation made by Mr. Evra.
Quite the oversimplification there. Why leave out mention of expert opinions, Suarez's admission that he called Evra "negro" (and not "negrito" as was widely believed) in the course of an argument and his "unreliable and inconsistent" testimony?
In its determination to prove its conclusions to the public through a clearly subjective 115-page document, the FA panel has damaged the reputation of one the Premier League's best players, deciding he should be punished and banned for perhaps a quarter of a season. This case has also provided a template in which a club's rival can bring about a significant ban for a top player without anything beyond an accusation.
So, the club of the man found guilty in this is calling the independent commission's 115-page detailed explanation for their findings "subjective." As for the "template" this provides, there was more than just the one accusation. That much is abundantly clear. Suarez admitted to saying the word Evra found racially offensive. The question was whether Suarez, a man from another part of the world, intended it to mean what Evra took it to mean. Liverpool clearly know that, so to say the only factor in this case's "template" includes nothing beyond an accusation is silly. And if Evra was doing this to get a top player for a club rival banned, he surely would've accused Sergio Aguero instead.
Nevertheless, there are ultimately larger issues than whether or not Luis Suarez has been treated fairly by the Football Association in this matter. There are important points we want to make today that overshadow what has occurred during the past two months.
The issue of race in sports, as in other industries, has a very poor history. Far too often, and in far too many countries, the issues of racism and discrimination have been covered over or ignored.
Agreed! If only the club had a golden opportunity to snap that trend of covering over and ignoring racism and discrimination by wearing anti-racism and discrimination T-shirts before a match instead of T-shirts featuring the name, number and triumphant image of a man found guilty of using a racial insult against an opponent...
In America, where Liverpool ownership resides, there was a shameful bigotry that prevented black athletes from competing at the highest levels for decades.
Are they saying "at least Suarez isn't as bad as America" or are they just trying to associate their owners with bigotry for some reason?
English football has led the world in welcoming all nationalities and creeds into its Premier League and its leagues below, and Liverpool Football Club itself has been a leader in taking a progressive stance on issues of race and inclusion. The Luis Suarez case has to end so that the Premier League, the Football Association and the Club can continue the progress that has been made and will continue to be made and not risk a perception, at least by some, that would diminish our commitment on these issues.
That. Is. Perfect. Like the opening to the club's previous statement, had they just published this, it would have been a resounding success.
Liverpool Football Club have supported Luis Suarez because we fundamentally do not believe that Luis on that day - or frankly any other - did or would engage in a racist act. Notably, his actions on and off the pitch with his teammates and in the community have demonstrated his belief that all athletes can play together and that the colour of a person's skin is irrelevant.
That's not what this is about. This is about Suarez admitting to including the color of a person's skin in the heat of an argument. He most likely did it without thinking, but he was found guilty of doing it and this is the result.
Continuing a fight for justice in this particular case beyond today would only obscure the fact that the Club wholeheartedly supports the efforts of the Football Association, the Football League and the Premier League to put an end to any form of racism in English football.
A fight for justice is the great work the club and its fans do for the victims and families of Hillsborough. This position in the Luis Suarez case is not a fight for justice.
It is time to put the Luis Suarez matter to rest and for all of us, going forward, to work together to stamp out racism in every form both inside and outside the sport.
It is for this reason that we will not appeal the eight-game suspension of Luis Suarez.
And an excellent, yet unexpected, finish. Hopefully this is the end of the matter. At least until we go through it all over again with the John Terry case.