Home > Uncategorized > Funny thing for a Man U fan to be saying.

Funny thing for a Man U fan to be saying.

I’ve just finished reading all 115 pages of the written judgement in the Luis Suarez case, and I cannot see how it can stand.

Suarez was not accused of racism by the FA, in  the charge brought against him,  but of using the word ‘negro’ in the wrong way, while speaking his native Uruguayan Spanish to a Frenchman during an English football match in which players from thirteen different nations participated, in a confrontation initiated by Patrice Evra, an opponent who was angered by an earlier foul which he felt had endangered a previously injured knee. Suarez denied that he was being racially offensive and said that he called Glen Johnson ‘Negro’, Dirk Kuyt ‘Blondie’, Andy Carroll ‘Grandote’, in normal, friendly speech between team-mates. Furthermore, he denied using the word more than once. Evra told French TV that he had used it ten times, and told his team mates and manager that he had used it five, leading to Fergie reporting to the referee that Suarez had called him ‘nigger’ five times.

As I understand it, there is no word in Spanish that translates into that particularly offensive term. There was no corroborating evidence, nor is there today, that Suarez used the word more than once, as he claims, only the accusation by Evra. However the commission chose to believe the latter since it decided that he was a credible witness. In determining Suarez’s meaning it relied only on the evidence of two English academics, retained as experts in Rioplatense Spanish, and Uruguayan culture. Most intriguingly, the commission downplayed the phrase with which Evra admitted addressing Suarez at the beginning of the confrontation. It seems to have been persuaded that ‘Concha de tu hermana’ can be translated as ‘F**king hell’, and that version has now found its way into the English media. I am not a fluent Spanish speaker, but even I know that is not true. At its very mildest, it means ‘Your sister’s pussy,’ but that is not the usual translation.

As it happens, Suarez did not hear the phrase; that seems to have allowed the Commission to lean towards Evra by deciding that the fact he had volunteered it somehow added to his credibility. In deciding the opposite about Suarez,and in reaching the view that he had used the word ‘negro’ seven times — not five, not ten, but seven — it relied upon conflicts in various interviews and statements after the event, and even on a conversation between Suarez and Dirk Kuyt. This took place in Dutch, the language they normally use together, in the light of Suarez’s four years at Ajax, the last of them spent as captain of a team including many black players. The exchange was translated back into English, and taken as evidence on the basis that Suarez is fluent in Dutch, something that does not seem to have been tested.

I’m a Man U fan, but I cannot find the justice in this. ‘Evra was more composed when giving evidence.’ Yes, because he was the accuser and the Commission automatically saw him as the aggrieved party; that was the case put to them by the FA and its counsel. Liverpool’s case for Suarez was that Evra had been so angered by his refusal to apologise for the original foul, which he had felt was part of normal play, and not malicious, that he had been bent on revenge, and that was the motivation for his accusations. That is pure supposition on Liverpool’s part and it is right that it should be rejected, but there is so much supposition in the commission’s finding that it’s hard to see that it is fair.

FA regulations do not require proof up to criminal standard; that is, ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. It accepts the civil standard; ‘balance of probability’. The consequences of the decision for Suarez, far beyond an eight game ban and a forty-thousand pound fine, in terms of his reputation, his business, his involvement with anti-racism charities, are too severe for that to be justified. Nobody has accused Suarez of being racist; that would be difficult since he has a black grandfather. Yet that is how he is now perceived by the moronic tendency among the general Premier League support and that is what will be chanted at him for the rest of his playing career in England, a circumstance that might well result in its being curtailed, unfortunately.

Then there’s Evra, captain of my team; he walks away shining. Yet if he came up to me, aggressively and addressed me as ‘Your sister’s c**t,’ I’d do my best to put him on his back, even though I’ve never had a sister. If Suarez had heard him he’d probably have done the same himself, been sent off, served a three-game ban, and that would have been the end of it. Perhaps that’s what Evra wanted. The commission should have asked him, but it didn’t.

Now that the judgement is out there, the English media, other commentators, and most surprisingly the PFA, which should have maintained neutrality until every legal avenue had been explored, are circling the wagons around it, and exerting pressure on Liverpool to draw a line under the matter, even if it is in everyone’s interests but their own and that of  their player. I suspect that very few of those strident opinions are being voiced by people who have actually read the judgement, and considered the basis of the findings.

I may be accused of racism just for posting this. If I am I will laugh it off, and so will every member of my multi-national, multi-racial extended family. I’ve read the document and I’ve considered what it contains, including the highly shambolic presentation of the defence case. I do not find that surprising, given the confused way in which the accusations were made and the varied nationality and language skills of the parties involved, even Kenny Dalglish, and his self-described ‘restaurant Spanish’. (There are those who would say that Kenny speaks ‘restaurant English’.) Furthermore, the prosecution case wasn’t assembled by Patrice Evra, or by Man U, but my the FA itself, so the apples vs oranges comparison must apply. Bottom line, I’m unhappy with the entire process and I believe that Suarez . . . as an individual, leaving the club out of it . . .  should have the right, should he choose to exercise it,  of independent, judicial appeal against the opinions of three men, their chair a lawyer, an adversarial profession of whose members, fifty per cent are by definition, wrong.

And as I will say yet again, I’m a Man U fan.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Alison
    January 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    QJ – the problem seems to be endemic in society, not just football – immediately a word is used that in any way relates to a person’s skin colour (if the person using it isn’t that colour) then it becomes a huge issue, and yet the remark about the sister is ignored; people are still allowed to call each other “fat b******s” and so on; a bunch of Muslim women can be exonerated on the charge of assaulting a white woman because “they’re not used to the effects of drink”. It annoys me hugely. As for the football world, they seem to have got a *right* bee in their collective bonnet about this. Somebody just needs to slap them firmly, that should do the trick.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: