Tooth and Lies

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the latest Luis Suarez incident is the level of vitriolic condemnation it’s kicked up. It appears for many peoplethat on a sliding scale of evil ranging from pantomime villain at one end to mass serial killer at the other Suarez comes in a couple of notches beyond Adolf Hitler. Sadly for these righteous zealots, the four month total football ban and fine imposed by FIFA fell somewhat short of the required death penalty, so what to do?


Well perhaps gaining a little perspective would be the best place to start. In no way do I condone the Uruguayan’s extraordinarily poor behaviour but isn’t everyone getting just a little carried away with themselves? I also feel it’s necessary to take the football out of this because the real issue here is nothing to do with the usual tribal allegiances the sport immerses itself in.

Much of the disgust we feel is way out of proportion to the seriousness of the ‘crime’. Biting is odd. It’s something dogs do, or from time to time very young children. We don’t expect it from adults and it makes us feel uncomfortable. To be locked into a condition where you’re a serial offender is plain weird. Clearly there’s a serious mental issue going on with Luis Suarez. I can’t imagine anyone would argue that he would do such a thing in a pre-meditated fashion with all the world watching on. Having done it twice before, and suffered severe sanctions for doing so, it’s obviously something he has no control over. As such it could be argued he deserves to be treated a little less callously. Punished and sanctioned by his sport’s governing body yes, but pilloried in such an abusive way, certainly not, unless it’s the way society sees fit to treat all such mentally ill people.

The fact he’s a very talented, rich and privileged footballer has got nothing to do with it, unless you want me to throw an accusation of jealousy your way too.

The stance of his countrymen and the Uruguayan FA helps him in no way, merely bolstering his victim status. He needs people around him to tell it like it is. Simply put, he needs professional help. What he doesn’t need is most of the world treating him like a genocidal maniac while those closest to him treat him as a paragon of virtue. He is neither. He’s a man with a serious character flaw in need of help. I for one hope he gets it.

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