Down the right hand side of this blog is a link to the let’s kick racism site.
Racism is one the worst things you can be accused of these days. Such are it’s repercussions that is it not an accusation that you bandy about lightly. It is probably one of the worst things you can accuse someone of just as being racist it is one of the worse things you can be.
When I heard that Patrice Evra had accused Luis Suarez of racist comments during Saturday’s game my heart sank. It’s ironic that something like this should occur when only twenty four hours before the game Fergie of all people had called for an end the Hillsborough / Munich chants?
During the game Evra and Suarez were involved in a number of “spats” which eventually lead to the Frenchman getting booked. Evra still seemed overly excited and even “brushed off” Suarez’s attempts to “make up” after this. A sign that perhaps Luis had overstepped the mark after all our man has something of the devil in him doesn’t he? Witness the diving all over the place that Fergie referred to in his post match interview (does he not remember Ronaldo?), that handball against Ghana in the World Cup and then there was the biting incident at Ajax? There was also a very sly kick at Evra near the corner flag that no one, except the TV, picked up.
Yep folks, there is no smoke without fire we might as well throw the book at Luis and, at the same time, ruin his reputation! However, let’s not be hasty. Before doing so (if at all) we should also ask serious questions of Evra. This is the second time he has played the “race card”. In 2008 he had an altercation with a Chelsea grounds man whilst warming down on the Stamford Bridge pitch after a match, this included punching him in the head and smashing his chest into him. Evra was banned for four games and fined £15,000 because of this. Guilty it would seem however in his “defence” Evra claimed the grounds man racially abused him – this was not proven. Evra said nothing after the incident. I find this strange, if I had been racially abused I would have taken this further on a point of principle.
So, one wonders if the race card this is Evra’s stock defence when anything doesn’t go his way? Perhaps he hopes that players will back off when they hear it? It is a serious allegation yet not serious enough for him to keep quiet until everything is investigated, no, Evra saw fit to go on French TV and blurt it all out.
“In 2011, there are things you can’t say any more, the referee knows and there will be an investigation. But I don’t want to repeat what he said… We can see thanks to the television what he said. He said it at least 10 times. We can read it on his lips.”
We can add to this is Evra’s rash behaviour at the last World Cup. A disagreement over selection policy lead to the French players refusing to train, Evra, as captain, was instrumental in that revolt criticising the coaching staff which eventually lead to him losing the captaincy and being banned for five games. I sense a pattern developing here?
So, it would be easy to say that, on this evidence, Evra is nothing more than a loose cannon that opens his mouth before thinking with little or no regard for the consequences? Of course these incidents should not be allowed to influence this current controversy even though they give us a good idea about Evra the man. Regardless of want has gone on in the past the question is did Suarez racially abuse Evra? That is for Evra to prove but I’m asking myself this.
If Suarez did abuse Evra ten times then perhaps he was not the only person to hear this? What about The Mancs’ other black players, Luke Young, Rio Ferdinand, Danny Welbeck actually what about anyone else on the pitch? So far, no one, Mancs or Liverpool player has come forward to substantiate or even support Evra’s accusations, strange as there were 21 other players on the pitch plus officials, surely if Suarez did abuse Evra ten times someone would have heard?
No doubt the magic of TV will help Evra to prove his allegations however has anyone, a lip reader for example, looked at this, it should be easy as there were 10 instances? In addition why did Evra apply this “ten strikes and you’re out” approach surely he should have raised this with referee Andre Marriner during the game after Suarez made this first utterance?
Then there is the post match reaction. Liverpool have come out in support of Suarez however on the other hand, and perhaps tellingly, the noise from Old Trafford in terms of outright support for Evra has been deafening in its silence! Fergie’s comments stop well short of this and concentrate on basically trying to tread a diplomatic line.
“We spoke to Patrice today and he’s adamant that he wants to follow it on. It’s not an easy one because everyone knows that Manchester United and Liverpool have great responsibilities in terms of what happens on the field…… It’s not something that we want to level at Liverpool, and it’s not against Liverpool. Obviously Patrice feels very aggrieved at what was said to him and it rests in the hands of the FA now.”
Compare this to the quote from Anfield
“Luis is adamant that he has not used language of that nature and the club is totally supportive of the player.”
I have a hunch this is a difficult one for Fergie. How much of his comments were trying to be even handed until the investigation is carried out or how much of them were borne out of the knowledge (or even embarrassment) that he has verbose, emotional player on his books who has a history of over reaction when things go against him?
Of course I could be totally wrong and the evidence may prove that Evra has a case however, as I said before, racism it is an accusation that you do not make lightly yesterday’s Guardian touched on this.
“The Kick It Out chairman, Lord Herman Ouseley, believes any footballer guilty of racism must face “severe sanction” from both the FA and the club but stressed “you would have to be able to prove it beyond reasonable doubt”.
The FA will investigate and they will need to be 100% sure there is case to answer for. Liverpool have asked for Evra to be banned if his accusations are proved to be incorrect. This has not stopped him the past but Evra should also 100% certain he is right. If he is wasting everyone’s time the ban is appropriate not because of Suarez or because Evra’s a serial complainer but because of the potential repercussions for those players who in the future might have a genuine, cast iron case?