Date: 21st December 2011 at 3:12am
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Is this the end of the whole sorry affair?

Is this the end of the whole sorry affair?

News that Luis Suarez has been found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra and handed an eight match ban has been met with a mixture of disbelief and anger by many associated with Liverpool football club.

 While fans are pleased and even somewhat relieved that Patrice Evra has been vindicated in his accusations against the Uruguayan international, Liverpool fans are naturally rallying around their striker and are only following the  example set by the club.
 
Following the verdict the club released a statement which not only supported Suarez, criticised Evra and claimed the FA had already made it’s mnd up in November, but also gives a brief ‘who do you think you are’ summary of their strikers heritage as proof of his supposed distaste for racism.
 
Having read the statement in full I feel it’s time to analyse it and the many flaws, contradictions and downright lies contained in it.
 
The club’ s statement.
 
“Liverpool Football Club is very surprised and disappointed with the decision of the Football Association commission to find Luis Suarez guilty of the charges against him.
 
Understandable, they’ve supported him and expected him to be found innocent. No real surprises there.

“We look forward to the publication of the commission’s judgment. We will study the detailed reasons of the commission once they become available, but reserve our right to appeal or take any other course of action we feel appropriate with regards to this situation.

Again no real revelations here and dare I say a fairly measured and considered statement of both expectation and possible intent by the club. Unfortunately that’s where the ‘considered’ aspect of the statement ends…

“We find it extraordinary that Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone when no-one else on the field of play – including Evra’s own Manchester team-mates and all the match officials – heard the alleged conversation between the two in a crowded Kop goalmouth while a corner kick was about to be taken.

Now correct me if I’m wrong but hasn’t Suarez admitted that he called Evra ‘negrito’ and United’s captain has made the allegation that he found it offensive. So what the point of arguing about the conversation is, quite frankly baffles me, surely everyone agrees what was said, the difference of opinion is why it was said. Was it meant as a racial slur or merely a reference based on what is culturally acceptable where Suarez comes from. The fact no one else heard it is completely irrelevant.

“The club takes extremely seriously the fight against all forms of discrimination and has a long and successful track record in work relating to anti-racist activity and social inclusion. We remain committed to this ideal and equality for all, irrespective of a person’s background.

I’d argue this isn’t the case when as soon as one of your is found guilty of racism, you immediately release a statement not only backing him but also criticising his accuser.

“LFC considers racism in any form to be unacceptable – without compromise. It is our strong held belief, having gone over the facts of the case, that Luis Suarez did not commit any racist act.
 
This is the crux of the whole argument and where obviously the FA and Liverpool disagree – as well as Evra and Suarez.  When the club states: “any form of racism.” Is not calling someone a name based on their race, during a heated argument when they obviously find it offensive, racist? If someone calls me ‘black’ thats not racist but if during a game they repeatedly call it me while were arguing then surely that is. Negrito may not be racist when said in a certain way or in the usual context just as calling me black isn’t but when it’s said during an argument, then repeated and obviously offends the recipient, I’d argue, as the FA arguably have, that it is.
 
It is also our opinion that the accusation by this particular player was not credible – certainly no more credible than his prior unfounded accusations.
 
This is the nadir of the entire statement. Evra has been labelled a ‘race card user’ by many Liverpool fans and now the club join in. This is no doubt a reference to the incidents at and the Steve Finnan case.
 
Firstly the incident at Chelsea. The FA report noted:
 
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 “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 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.

So that one goes out of the window- Evra never claimed to have heard any racist remarks nor did he accuse anyone of doing so. The fact that he admitted he didn’t hear any racist remarks was the reason it was dismissed, if Evra had lied and said he did hear them, he could have saved himself a ban or at least got Bethell punished, but he didn’t so he chose not to and rightly so.

As for the Finnan one. there’s a link here to the full story: EVRA/FINNAN but allow me to elucidate. Some deaf supporters watching on the television said they lip-read Finnan racially abusing Evra. Evra said he heard nothing and was ‘unaware of any racist abuse.’ Case closed.

“It is key to note that Patrice Evra himself in his written statement in this case said: “I don’t think that Luis Suarez is racist.” The FA in their opening remarks accepted that Luis Suarez was not racist.

Evra has admitted here that he does not believe Suarez is racist and Liverpool are now happy to quote a player only a paragraph earlier they noted: “certainly no more credible than his prior unfounded accusations.”

Is he credible when he says Suarez isn’t racist but not credible when he says he’s made a racist remark? How does it work? When is Evra allowed to be considered ‘credible’? Perhaps Liverpool football club could enlighten us all.

“Luis himself is of a mixed race family background as his grandfather was black. He has been personally involved since the 2010 World Cup in a charitable project which uses sport to encourage solidarity amongst people of different backgrounds with the central theme that the colour of a person’s skin does not matter; they can all play together as a team.

This is one of the more pointless parts of the statement as anyone knows that even a black person can be racist towards another black person. Having a black grandad doesn’t suddenly make you incapable of making a racist comment.

Calling a black  person a ‘coconut’ is described as a racist term by the police yet it is used mainly as a slur from one black person to another or to another person in an ethnic minority. Here’s an example click HERE

Many black people -myself included- find the term n*gger abhorrent and would take offence if it was used towards us by even another black person. Other black people don’t mind it or even use it as a term of endearment so when it comes to ‘black on black’ insults -for want of a better description, it’s all depends on the individual and also the context.

From what we can assertain, Suarez called Evra a term, the skipper found offensive and continued to do so on several occasions. That seems to be the point, not whether Suarez is one eighth black.

“He has played with black and mixed with their families whilst with the Uruguay national side and was captain at Ajax Amsterdam of a team with a proud multi-cultural profile, many of whom became good friends.

The argument ‘Ive got black friends so how can I be racist’ is now seen as one of the more embarassing arguments you can put forward in defending yourself against a racial allegation. Here’s an example in The Thick of It click HERE around the 12.30 mark of how that argument is seen as a joke.

“It seems incredible to us that a player of mixed heritage should be accused and found guilty in the way he has based on the evidence presented. We do not recognise the way in which Luis Suarez has been characterised

A fairly reasonable argument and one I’m not going to discredit just because I’m a fan, although I’ll again point to my previous comment of how a persons background doesn’t always prevent them from making a racist remark.

“It appears to us that the FA were determined to bring charges against Luis Suarez, even before interviewing him at the beginning of November. Nothing we have heard in the course of the hearing has changed our view that Luis Suarez is innocent of the charges brought against him and we will provide Luis with whatever support he now needs to clear his name.

If Liverpool thought the FA were determined to bring charges against Suarez before interviewing him, why not raise those concerns at the time? Liverpool would have been much more credible had they done so rather than after Suarez has been found guilty.

“We would also like to know when the FA intend to charge Patrice Evra with making abusive remarks to an opponent after he admitted himself in his evidence to insulting Luis Suarez in Spanish in the most objectionable of terms. Luis, to his credit, actually told the FA he had not heard the insult.”

Surely this is another example of Evra being honest, which negates the earlier ‘lack of credibility’ point. why admit what you said if even Suarez didn’t hear it? As for charging him, well when Evra initially made his accusation there were calls from the club for him to be charged if he Suarez was not found guilty, now it seems even though the Uruguayan has, they still want blood from Evra.

An example of the club’s stance during the investigation- via Kenny Daglish can he found HERE.

I know many Liverpool fans will be going ballistic and no doubt comment with insults aimed at both myself and Evra, while defending Suarez. All I’ll say is this, I read the statement and like many fans was disappointed that even after he’s been found to be the victim of racial abuse, Patrice Evra is still being criticised, even by the club who’s player abused him and rather than rant and rave, I thought an examination and analysis of the statement was only right. If you don’t agree with my findings or arguments, or even if you do, I’d appreciate your thoughts.

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