Why We Watch: Accepting Luis Suárez's Apology

Luis Suárez is a jerk. He's also as transcendent a player as the Premier League has on offer right now. Which one do you want?
Share |

We've enjoyed our (ongoing!) NBA Why We Watch series so much that we're expanding it into other sports. Here's the first of those.

November 11, 2012 was a gray, sodden, ugly day in London, and so perfect for the gray, sodden, and ugly football match was being played that day at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Liverpool. Between the coal-dust skies and slogging play, the game might easily have been mistaken for a match played in 1972. But there were modern television graphics on the screen, and a marked lack of '70s-style muddy quagmires on the pitch and cringe-worthy mullets in the seats—this was a present-day game imbued with that French Connection gloom. With the score 1-0 Chelsea—thanks to a header from John Terry that was mainly distinguished by horrific Liverpool marking in the box—Liverpool won a corner kick, which Suso placed just at the corner of the five yard box. There, long-time Red and current last-legs veteran Jamie Carragher flicked it into the mixing bowl. And from that flick-on, a staple of every football training ground forever, Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez—as equally unmarked as Terry had been for his goal—planted a ferocious header into the top of the net; an “even if I miss, I can’t miss” moment if ever there was one. Tie game, Suárez’s eighth goal of the season, and probably the easiest he’d score all year. That’s not the important part.

The more telling moment came right after the goal, as Suárez charged towards the corner flag in celebration, cupping an ear to the away supporters, kissing his finger and wrist in that odd way of his (his finger for his wife, and his wrist for his daughter, apparently), mugged for the camera, and then turned around in expectation of the usual mobbing of teammates that comes with just about every goal ever scored in a football match. Only this time, he was greeted with the sight of his teammates all the way on the other side of the pitch, and the realization that he was all alone at the flag.

After the match, the explanation will be that they were celebrating with Carragher, making a return to the first team after an injury spell, but that hardly explains why not one single, solitary man in red at least gave Suárez a token celebration, a slap on the ass or high five or fist bump or anything acknowledging that Suárez actually put the damn ball in the damn goal, and so leveled a match Liverpool honestly had no right to have leveled. The camera catches Suárez, in that one moment, realizing that he is all alone, and his face ever-so-briefly sags, crumpling and confused, before he recovers and throws a hearty fist pump en route to rejoining his teammates. I have now watched this amazing moment at least twenty times, and every single time—and fully despite myself—I feel oddly sorry for him.

***

I suppose I shouldn’t, of course; only the aforementioned Terry, of sleeping with a teammate’s wife and ugly racial slur/unbelievable clearing of name for said slur fame, enjoys a worse reputation in English football than Suárez does. And, I should hasten to add, that reputation appears fully deserved—as most football-watchers know, Suárez had his own racial incident last October, using the Spanish word “negro” any number of times in a heated moment with Manchester United’s French defender Patrice Evra. Evra, at the time, thought Suárez was calling him “nigger”; that he later understood that Suárez was just calling him “black”—as in: “Why did you kick me?” “Because you are black.”—somehow makes things depressingly worse, as though Suárez just had to inform him that it was Evra’s skin color and not, say, his man-marking skills that was really sticking in his craw.

This led to an eight-game suspension, a 40,000 pound fine, an unfortunate Uruguayan radio interview in which Suárez unveiled a noxious “what happens in Vegas” defense and called Evra a snitch—whether worthy of stitches or not, Suárez didn’t say. It led, too, to an even more unfortunate moment in February, as Suárez made his first post-suspension start against (of all teams) Manchester United and declined to shake Evra’s hand in the traditional pregame handshake between teams, forcing Evra to grab his forearm in a moment as awkward as anything David Brent or Michael Scott ever authored. I am leaving out Suárez biting an opposing player while a member of Ajax, his infamous intentional handball for Uruguay to deny Ghana a goal in the 2010 World Cup and subsequent jubilant/entirely untoward celebration upon Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan missing the ensuing penalty that would’ve won the game (Ghana ended up losing on penalty kicks). Let's leave out, too, Suárez's recent and already-infamous celebration after scoring against Liverpool’s blood rivals Everton, diving in front of Everton manager David Moyes in mockery of Moyes’ pregame comments about Suárez’s own diving proclivities.

The upshot of all this is that Suárez, on the field at least, about as pure an embodiment of all the tendencies and qualities we loathe in athletes as sports currently offers. He will stop at nothing to win, and will cheat; he acts like a gigantic asshole, win or lose; he’ll cheerfully let a black player know how much he doesn’t care for black players when the opportunity to do so presents itself, and even when it doesn't. He's difficult to cheer for at best and frankly odious at worst, in short. The complicating factor would the feats of magic that he has performed this season for a Liverpool team that would be fighting relegation without him.

***

Because there’s that as well—Luis Suárez is a wonderful football player, capable of tearing apart world-class defenses with a few dexterous moves, showing off jaw-dropping ball control en route to a magical goal, pulling a Beckham and scoring from the halfway line with one magisterial sweep of his right foot, and breaking the heart of a Korean who only truly feels Korean during World Cups via a sweet curled finish that no goalkeeper on Earth could have stopped. In the 2011 Copa America, which Uruguay won, Suárez scored four goals in six matches, including two in the semifinal against Peru, converted his penalty in the quarterfinal shootout against a heavily favored Argentina, and was named player of the tournament after scoring in the final against Paraguay. It’s entirely fair to say that Uruguay would not have sniffed the semifinals of the 2010 World Cup, let alone made them, without Suárez’s contributions all throughout the tournament, including the one everyone hates him for. He’s tallied 34 goals and 17 assists in 71 appearances for Liverpool since joining in January 2011; 10 of those goals have come this season in just 14 games, which is three more than the entire rest of his team combined. If there’s a player more vital to his club than Suárez, it's difficult to think of who it might be, or how he might manage that achievement.

Football is not built for individual standouts, which makes the way that Suárez has flipped the narrative of Liverpool games—from How Will The Reds Do to Let's See How Suárez Rescues Everyone This Week—that much more amazing. The reasons for the team's growing pains are multiple: manager Brendan Rodgers is still working out the kinks of his pass-happy style that worked so well for Swansea City last season; previous manager Kenny Dalgish’s disastrous 2011 season, which filled the team with mediocre midfielders, mediocre defenders, and a mediocre bench; Rodgers’ inept decision to loan out £35 million striker/totem pole/lager enthusiast Andy Carroll—Liverpool’s only other legitimate striker—to West Ham United without finding a proper replacement; the fact that Steven Gerrard, famed for his thunderbolt goals and definitely not for his passing ability, has no real part in Rodgers’ tactics, yet keeps getting trotted out in starting XIs because of a bunch of stuff he did nearly a decade ago. And yet Liverpool has become rather difficult to defeat: they're unbeaten in their last eight league games—five of those were draws, but progress is progress—after losing three of their first five. Suárez has scored eight goals during this rejuvenated stretch. This does not seem like a coincidence.

Suárez also complains constantly to referees and anyone else within yelping distance, racks up an astounding amount of yellow cards for an attacking player, and his reputations for blowing easy scoring chances and taking the occasional dive—while probably overstated—are not totally undeserved. And there's that asshole thing, from earlier. But it's tempting, in watching him play, to wonder if he could be this brilliant if he were any other way—if he would so furiously work himself into areas where teammates might get him the ball, or hustle so hard for corner kicks if he was not so broadly pathological. Look at him in the most generous possible light, and he's just an athlete giving his whole self to Vince Lombardi's winning-is-the-only-thing instrumentalism, and substituting a silky right foot and ghostly elusiveness for Lombardi's red-meat gruntiness in the bargain. The question, with Suárez, is what deeper personal gracelessness all that unconscious in-play grace can excuse, and whether we can accept his play—and his repentance—as an apology.

This is not that complicated a question, although there are levels of sanctimony and bias and abstraction that make it more so. Suárez, complicated guy that he is, has not made it any simpler. Yes, he didn’t shake Evra’s hand and he gave that stupid radio interview, and yes, he continues to feel like he got a raw deal for all that. But he has also apologized to Evra for the handshake row and has tried very hard to move on from what has been the darkest mark on his CV. Both Uruguay and Liverpool coaches gave their support to Suárez after the incident; both his teammates and manager drew criticism for wearing t-shirts with his name and image on them to show their support.

An interview he gave to the Guardian in August paints the picture of a deeply passionate player who speaks of “two of me, two different people;” everyone at Liverpool has nothing but good things to say about him, and it seems clear that it’s the spirit of competition that drives Suárez to do some of the crazy, awful shit he’s done; if you want him to be, Suárez can be a Manchurian Candidate, with the official's whistle as the signal that sets him off. There are so many athletes like this that it's tempting to think that all of them must be at least a little bit this way; the expression "to leave it all out on the field" has some dark depths, if you look at it from a certain angle.

A week after the Chelsea game, Liverpool paid host to Wigan, a decidedly inferior opponent to Chelsea; the 3-0 thrashing Liverpool handed out showed that quite nicely. Suárez had one of his best games of the young season, knocking in two goals and assisting on the third, every one of his sublime talents on display throughout the match. His teammates celebrated with him on both goals.

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Paulblank.


Share |

Comments

Truly, one of the best posts I've ever witnessed to see in my whole life. Wow, just keep it up.. delhi to jaipur taxi

owner financed listings, to lease option houses- you name it, you can find it here Download Battlefield Hardline Free

the web for free. We provide you excellent adult videos with the highest resolution.. packers and movers aundh

xnxx Watch the best xnxx movies on the web for free. We provide you excellent adult videos with the highest resolution. Please visit http://xnxx-freeporn.com/ ...

Sex Toys Emporium 60% Off RRP @ Australia's Best Sex Toys Emporium, We have over 3500 top quality products at rock bottom prices. Fast discrete delivery guaranteed. Please visit http://www.sextoysemporium.com.au/ ...

I appreciate everything you have added to my knowledge base.Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer.Thanks.

http://file-size.net/

I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance.

Colorado Ragnar

dr. sen and samantha pearson perfect vision system reviews Perfect Vision Today: Dr. Sen And Samantha Pearson Reveal A Breakthrough, Step-By-Step System To Achieve 20/20 Vision And Help Cure Myopia, Hyperopia, Presbyopia, And Most Other Visual Problems In As Little As 2 Weeks... Written for consumers by a consumer, this fan site includes a fun and informative Perfect Vision Today review, ebook FAQ, and PDF download guide that provides an insider's look at the program and answers frequently asked questions about Dr. Sen and Samantha Pearson's unique and highly popular guide to better vision. For more info, please click here website: https://www.rebelmouse.com/perfectvisiontodayreviews/ ...

Every blog tells something. This blog is actually fantastic and I’ve got enough things while reading this post.

Franaar Dreaming Love Formula

The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept.

www.rebelmouse.com/johnbarban/

I would love to say thanks for your efforts you have ever put in writing this wonderful blog.

bandar judi online

Become a member of many distinct elective training. Your 1st year involving college will be the time to travel out with a limb along with try some stuff you certainly not would or would have in secondary school.

Makeup Ideas For Blue Eye

You know your projects stand out of the herd. There is something special about them. It seems to me all of them are really brilliant!

Cherry Blossom Life

crack the girl code download Get The Girl Code: Michael Fiore And Miss X Reveal A 3-Step, Scientifically Proven Evolutionary "Cheat Code" To Get Any Girl You Want Quickly, Easily, And Without Having To Lie, Manipulate, Or Play A Single Ridiculous Mind Game. Written for consumers by a consumer, this site includes a fun and informative Get The Girl Code review and buyers guide that provides an insider's look at the program and answers frequently asked questions about Michael Fiore and Marni Kinrys' unique and highly popular system for helping you bring out the very best parts of yourself to attract, date, and seduce absolutely any and every woman you want. Learn everything you need to know about the program so you can decide if the Get The Girl Code is the right choice for you before you buy it. Please visit my web: https://www.rebelmouse.com/getthegirlcodereviews/ ...

Splendid information you have given here in the blog, you have actually impressed me yes!!

http://officialdigicodes.com/triviacrackcheats

Very nice I accept as true with your thoughts. Many thanks a great deal I’ve benefited therefore usually I’ll visit your website.

voyance amour

Copy Fight Get The Guy. How To Get The Man Of Your Dreams And Keep Him. Although there are plenty of fish in the sea, landing a “keeper” can be a challenge. Many women find certain traits. Please visit my website: http://copyfight.org/ ...

Your work is very good and I appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts. Thank you for sharing great information to us.

page one engine review

Thanks for the blog loaded with so many information. Stopping by your blog helped me to get what I was looking for.find it here:

https://www.rebelmouse.com/3weekdietreviews

It’s my fortune to go to at this blog and realize out my required stuff that is also in the quality.

Wireless Infrastructure management services

jared gates hair loss protocol reviews Rebuild Hair Program: Jared Gates Reveals A Weirdly Effective, Science-Backed Hair Restoration Technique For Naturally Regrowing Hair In As Little As 4 Weeks, Simply By Altering What You Eat... Written for consumers by a consumer, this fan site includes a fun and informative Rebuild Hair Program review, ebook FAQ, and PDF download guide that provides an insider's look at the program and answers frequently asked questions about Jared Gates’ unique and highly popular hair loss treatment guide. Please click here website: https://www.rebelmouse.com/rebuildhairprogramreviews/ ...

survive the end days by nathan shepard Survive The End Days: Nathan Shepard Reveals His Ultimate Survival Techniques That Will Keep You And Your Family Safe From The Coming Catastrophes Prophesized By The Bible... Written for consumers by a consumer, this fan site includes a fun and informative Survive The End Days review, ebook FAQ, and PDF download guide that provides an insider's look at the program and answers frequently asked questions about Nathan Shepard's unique and highly popular disaster survival guide. Please click here website: https://www.rebelmouse.com/survivetheenddaysreviews/ ...

I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

eat stop eat review

Thank you so much for sharing this great blog.Very inspiring and helpful too.Hope you continue to share more of your ideas.I will definitely love to read.

Xarelto Cares

fotógrafo infantil Fotografía infantil y fotografía de la familia, son memorias para toda la vida, también fotografía de niños y embarazadas. Para obtener más información, por favor haga clic aquí mi sitio web: http://www.julesdupont.com/ ...

I havent any word to appreciate this post.....Really i am impressed from this post....the person who create this post it was a great human..thanks for shared this with us.

POS Systems

Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. delhi to jaipur cab

Hi there, I found your blog via Google while searching for such kinda informative post and your post looks very interesting for me.

Buy HGH in San Francisco

history involves a bunch of college kids in Lake Placid on tape delay. That first miracle has never been matched, and probably never will be. miami key west bus

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free.

Mike

Excellent Blog! I would like to thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. I wanted to thank you for this websites! Thanks for sharing. targeted email marketing campaign

I really didn’t know all these things before which you have informed us through your best writing.

Best Attorney Website

You have a good point here!I totally agree with what you have said!!Thanks for sharing your views...hope more people will read this article!!!

http://www.skyphonenumber.co/

I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i’ll be your constant reader. more Info

Great write-up, I am a big believer in commenting on blogs to inform the blog writers know that they’ve added something worthwhile to the world wide web! as example

The steady thinking and royal new attempts give you passive results in perfect timing schedules to start your proper run.

baby video monitor

detaillierte Überprüfung Boost Your Bust: Get The Sexy Curves That Drive Men Wild By Using The "Magic Formula" To Natural Breast Enlargement. This site is a leading resource for information about the Jenny Bolton Boost Your Bust PDF book and breast enhancement system that teaches you how to get bigger breasts naturally right from home. Includes a collection of Jenny Bolton Boost Your Bust reviews, PDF ebook download information, and tips for increasing your cup size from around the web. For more information, Please click here my website: https://www.rebelmouse.com/boostyourbustjennybolton/ ...

This is an amazing blog! What can I say, you've hit the nail right on the head! Why you didn't added some videos to make it seem so much more real?

Mahorrla Surviving Help Method

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.. related site

Thanks for your insight for your fantastic posting. I’m glad I have taken the time to see this.

sourcing profits

is world's best head legit World’s Best Head 2.0: Joshua Rose & Alexa Aimes Reveal A Weirdly Effective And Extremely Pleasurable "Sexual Cocaine Technique" For Giving Your Man An Incredible Blow Job That Leaves Him Passionately Addicted To You... Written for consumers by a consumer, this fan site includes a fun and informative World’s Best Head 2.0 review, ebook FAQ, and PDF download guide that provides an insider's look at the program and answers frequently asked questions about Joshua Rose & Alexa Aimes' unique and highly popular fellatio guide. Please visit my web page: https://www.rebelmouse.com/worldsbestheadreviews/ ...

My extensive internet look up has at the end been rewarded with reasonable knowledge to go over with my friends. I 'd express that we readers are rather fortunate to live in a great community with very many special people with helpful plans.

ad agency in joplin mo

I 'd express that we readers are rather fortunate to live in a great community with very many special people with helpful plans. . Rexburg drafting services

Good quality info. Lucky to me I came to your website not on purpose, but now I have bookmarked it. car interior cleaning products

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article example

it is consistently entertaining to watch talent express itself in performance; there’ white and black living room

I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site. προωθηση ιστοσελιδων

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free.

weblink

for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved.. packers and movers pune rates

I can set up my new idea from this post. It gives in depth information. Thanks for this valuable information for all,..

girlsdoporn