Having been seen on camera using the term “f*cking black c*nt” towards Anton Ferdinand, last week John Terry was found not guilty of of a racially aggravated public order offence, as the context in which the term had been used could not be determined.
This is just one of a number of incidents that took place in England last season, with the most prominent being between Patrice Evra and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.
Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing Evra and was hit with an 8 game ban and £40k fine.
Throughout the whole situation questions were raised about the utterances of Suarez and those in support of him as well as the conduct of Liverpool FC as a football club.
Things came to a head when the two teams met in February and Suarez decided not to shake Evra’s hand.
Following this incident there were a number of official statements from the two clubs, with apologies issued and accepted but I feel the issue is far from dead. It is clear Liverpool fans resent the way Suarez was treated throughout and Suarez himself does too.
On international duty with Uruguay, yesterday Suarez spoke candidly with Rodrigo Romano on a TV show called RR.GOL back in South America about the situation as a whole and again, for me, made some very questionable statements.
A Liverpool fans has summarised the interview so here is the part pertaining to Evra:
Then he referred to the Evra incident.
He did not say anything about the content of the issue, but referred to the personal side of it. He seems to have suffered much more than he showed during the months of the episode.
He declares he suffered the Evra issue “only with his family”. He says that because of his temperament he is not used to showing his feelings, so what he lived during the trial nobody but his family knows.
He says that he cried those nights and that only his wife lived through it with him.
Regarding the “political” dimension, the interviewer mentioned that many people said that Manchester politics was behind the episode.
He does not comment directly on it, but confirms that “within Liverpool” (the club) many people was convinced of that”. And adds that Liverpool had directly asked him not to speak in public during those months, and adds that there were “other players” who were desperate to talk, (e.g. Kuyt), but Liverpool would not allow anyone to speak.
He says that he also got a lot of support from Seb Coates and his girlfriend.
He insisted he had to endure a lot of pressure, but he could not make public his real feelings during the trial days. That he had to go and play without having practiced because he had to go to trial, waking up at 7 am and coming back in the evening without being able to practice with the team.
And when the verdict was close he was really nervous (I think he said “desperate”) and then the verdict was postponed even more, which only added pressure and stress.
Regarding the handshake incident, he confirms he was “totally decided to shake hands” himself, that the issue for him was already in the past.
On top of that, he says that he had made a commitment both to his wife and to Kenny Dalglish that he WILL shake hands –and he sounds very natural now when he stresses that he had made up his mind and had no problem to shake.
But then he says that “again everything was arranged by the TV”. He suggests something unexpected happened at the moment of the shake. He seems to believe that when he got close to Evra, the Manchester player lowered his hand and he believed Evra did not want to shake.
He says that TV images were shown in a way that made him look bad, but he added that “Manchester United commands the politics of sports in England” and he felt “that you have to accept, there’s no option”.
Whilst he didn’t go into the specifics of the case I find it worrying that he still seeks to absolve himself of any blame.
He claims that United influenced the case, yet unlike Liverpool, we maintained a dignified silence throughout so perhaps he means behind the scenes.
He also claims that the TV and Evra conspired to make him look bad in the handshake incident too, which is also questionable.
The matter is still very raw, and as the public, I am under no illusion that we don’t know the full details but these claims, especially the one stating United influenced the case’s outcome, are spurious from Suarez.
A number of Liverpool fans say that it is one man’s word against another and the same can be said about Suarez’s suggestion.