The Liverpool football player Luis Suarez has just received a 10 match ban for biting another footballer during a game at the weekend. The initial incident caused a lot of comment, not least of all jokes that the victim was in trouble now that Frank Lampard knew he was edible*.
I’ve already broken a taboo though, I’ve referred to Ivanovic as the victim, as though some crime has occurred. The general consensus among football pundits and newspaper sports writers is summed up nicely by Liverpool, the once great moral compass of British football, saying they’re “shocked and disappointed” by the “severity” of the FA’s decision. It has to be remembered that this is the very same club that defended the very same players racial abuse of another player to the hilt, even when he was given an 8 match ban for it.
Suarez himself got into trouble while an Ajax player for biting one of the opposition, so he has form, and also a questionable choice in diet- perhaps an iron deficiency?
Pundits and players are trotting out straw man arguments that the ban is longer than that awarded for a vicious tackle- Liverpool’s own Jamie Carragher has said he would rather have been bitten than put out of the game for 6 months by a intentionally bad tackle that had a much less severe punishment.
They all miss the point that biting, as well as spitting (which in itself is a straight red card in football and carries a mandatory 3 match ban), are completely socially unacceptable in children, let alone adults, and let alone adults who earn millions and millions of pounds a year and are role models (whether they like it or not) to many impressionable kids.
What is a brilliant contrast is looking at the comments from parent bloggers and people who don’t follow football on twitter compared to football fans/writers/correspondents. You wont find us running a poll over whether it’s too harsh a ban, let me tell you!
You won’t find any hand wringing bleating about the unfairness of it all, you’ll see comments like:-
- I think he’s lucky not to be prosecuted.
- I’m disgusted! Hubs bought boys & me Liverpool tops the other week!#fitforbin
- I’m assuming he’s already been charged with assault? Should be a quick trial given the video evidence? Is it his first offence?
- 10 game ban is a joke? Football is the joke. If done anywhere but on a football field it would be aggravated assault #Suarez
If a three year old can understand this, I’m baffled by how a 26 year old footballer and the hierarchy of a football club can pay lip service to biting being wrong and be outraged at the punishment meted out.
*there are plenty of Fat Frank jokes that still do the rounds about Frank Lampard’s size. He’s not fat.