As soon as the media reported that United captain Patrice Evra had made a complaint that Luis Suarez had racially abused him during the game at Anfield on Saturday, every Liverpool fan- and even a few City fans were quick to criticise the French left back.
It seemed the allegations had to be untrue because according to any Liverpool fan with access to the internet, i.e mainly those in prison, ‘Evra has played the race card in the past.’
These past 24 hours or so since the claims were made, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was sweet little innocent Luis Suarez that was the real victim here and that Evra was some form of monster who was quick to accuse anyone who slightly upset him of one of the most heinous acts someone can commit verbally.
The reason Evra has been chastised by so many anti-United fans, is that according to legend, he’s accused both Sam Bethell, a Chelsea groundsman and Steve Finnan, a barely average footballer, of being racist towards him.
Well, if that’s the case then surely the Suarez accusations should be taken with not so much a pinch of salt, but maybe a fistful. There’s only one problem, EVRA HASN’T PLAYED THE RACE CARD BEFORE.
The first instance the giro hunters were quick to bring up was the Sam Bethell one, where Evra had a post match fight with the Chelsea groundsman and was subsequently banned for four games. During the investigation, several newspapers reported that ‘United sources claimed Evra had been racially abused by Bethell.’ United sources did claim Evra was racially abused, those sources were Mickey Phelan and goalkeeping coach Richard Hartis.
The FA Report notes:
It is after the first altercation between Mr Bethell and Mr Evra that Mr Bethell is alleged to have shouted at Mr Evra R20;I’ll ******* have you, you ******* 12 immigrant” – an allegation which Mr Bethell has consistently and vehemently denied.
39. The two witnesses who say they heard those words directed by Mr Bethell at Mr Evra are the Manchester United first team coach Mr Mike Phelan and the goalkeeping coach Mr Richard Hartis.
There is some confusion and inconsistency in their placing of the alleged racist insult. We should not have expected complete detailed accuracy and consistency in witnesses’ recollections of a fast-moving disorderly series of events. However, there are aspects of the evidence of Mr Phelan and Mr Hartis which raise serious questions about the reliability of their claims about the racist remark.
The later on in the report: Even if we disregard the fact that Mr Evra has never claimed to have heard such a remark on that day.
That’s right: Evra has never claimed to have heard such a remark. Shall I repeat it again EVRA HAS NEVER CLAIMED TO HAVE HEARD SUCH A REMARK.
So it’s pretty safe to say, Evra didn’t play the ‘race card’ on that occasion, which brings me onto Steve Finnan.
This is taken from the Guardian following the incident:
A police investigation has been launched after deaf football fans complained they had lip-read Liverpool’s Steve Finnan making a racist remark towards Patrice Evra of Manchester United.
The Merseyside club immediately denounced the claim as an “outrageous slur” but Greater Manchester police confirmed last night that inquiries are ongoing into allegations that the Liverpool full-back “made an offensive comment” during last month’s 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
It is understood that the alleged remark was picked up by fans watching the game on television. Two contacted the police, as well as Manchester United, and claimed they had lip-read what the Republic of Ireland international apparently said. Police are understood to have taken statements and to be reviewing footage of the game.
The revelations drew an angry response from Anfield. “The first either the club or the player knew about this matter was through the media,” a spokesman said. “There has been absolutely no contact from the Greater Manchester police. We have subsequently had a video of the match analysed by a lip-reader, who has told us there is nothing to support this outrageous slur.”
The incident allegedly happened after Finnan had given away the stoppage-time free-kick on Evra that led to Rio Ferdinand heading the decisive goal. Evra, however, was unaware of any racist taunts. The Senegal-born Frenchman, a £5.5m signing from Monaco in January, has not raised any complaints although he is aware of the allegations.
The important bit here chaps is: THE FRENCHMAN HAS NOT RAISED ANY COMPLAINTS.
Finnan was later cleared of any racist charges.
Evra has not played the race card on either occasion, so I ask you, why would he suddenly start now, especially after the two previous times racism allegations have been made on his behalf, no one has been punished for them?
I’ve seen a lot of erroneous and downright disgusting accusations levelled at Evra over the past day or so, everything from him being a ‘vile race card waver’ to actually being ‘racist against white people.’
The sad thing is none of the people quick to accuse Evra have bothered to check their facts and had they done so they’d realise the stupidity of the remarks they were making. Now though Evra is tarred with an undeserving brush that’s practically given any player the green light to racially abuse the United captain should they wish, after all if he were to claim he’s been the victim of racism again, who would honestly believe him.
It’s doubtful that Suarez will be charged as the video evidence, seems inconclusive, but I for one believe Evra, after all depsite what people claim, he’s never made this thing up in the past, so why on earth would he start now?
Mind you, I can’t really imagine should a shining example of respectful conduct as Suarez, to commit any vile acts, next you’ll be telling me he bites opponents, dives and cheats entire continents out of making history.