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 |


Thank you a lot for providing individuals with a very spectacular possibility to read critical reviews from this site. THE VENUS FACTOR REVIEWS

Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful information particularly the last part :) I care for such information a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.


Tie game, Suárez’s eighth goal of the season, and probably the easiest he’d score all year. That’s not the important part.cccam server

This is a wonderful article, Given so much info in it, These type of articles keeps the users interest in the website, and keep on sharing more ... good luck.

kerala tour packages

You need to look at the idea. Tend not to stress! It could an excellent disease. You have to ensure the facts.

diamonds dublin

The book that helps you how to cure kidney disease. This tips is a healthy procedure and natural so please read and study.

HIV Test Singapore

Excellent blog here. It’s out-of-the-way quality writing. If truth be told I appreciate the people like you! Take care,.

HIV PEP Singapore

And looming large in my eyes and in those of everyone else in attendance were these huge breasts of a pyramid beast woman, recast as reproductive machine

STD Testing Singapore

Thanks For sharing this Superb article.I use this Article to show my assignment in college.it is useful For me Great Work.

guest posts by rebelmouse

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


This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new technology. Thanks for sharing it,


You are able to fix it. Prepare their own routine similar to precisely what is time for you to browse online and also time and energy to full their particular homework.

netticasino Suomi

Prepare their own routine similar to precisely.. Salvation Diet

This post is really top notch, my friend. I have never seen such a beautiful post in my entire life. Thanks a lot for posting this fine post today. Cheers, mate!

Millawdon Pulling Girls Trick

Thanks For sharing this Superb article.I use this Article to show my assignment in college.it is useful For me Great Work.

Demir Leather

it was Evra’s skin color and not, say, his man-marking skills that was really sticking in his craw.Single Girls' Handbook Free Download

nice post, keep up with this interesting work. It really is good to know that this topic is being covered also on this web site so cheers for taking time to discuss this!
Lovetraction Lines review by Simone myers

I agree with you. This post is truly inspiring. I like your post and everything you share with us is current and very informative, I want to bookmark the page so I can return here from you that you have done a fantastic job.


I agree with you. This post is truly inspiring. I like your post and everything you share with us is current and very informative, I want to bookmark the page so I can return here from you that you have done a fantastic job

Real Estate Panama

You actually make it look so easy with your performance but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never comprehend. nutrisystem discount code

Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. I'm happy I found this blog. Thank you for sharing with us,I too always learn something new from your post.

I simply want to tell you that I am new to weblog and definitely liked this blog site. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You absolutely have wonderful stories. Cheers for sharing with us your blog

home sauna

how to get a hot girlfriend even if your ugly The Girlfriend Activation System was reviewed by HYSH Review Team on Oct 08. A step-by-step system on how to get a girlfriend. Version GFAS V2. The Girlfriend Activation System (GFAS) is an online video course that teaches you how to attract the woman you want, keep her interested, and turn her into a committed girlfriend. It is an excellent choice for men who are sick of “PUA tricks” and are interested in learning how to create a real connection with that one amazing woman they’d love to be in a relationship with. Please visit http://haveyouseenhim.com/girlfriend-activation-system-review-breakdown-... ...

The information you have posted is very useful. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing..

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work.


http://www.macfittest.com Despite popular belief, when it comes to the subject of erectile dysfunction (ED), it’s definitely not just an old man’s problem. Most of the advertisements that run continuously on television focus on how getting older can affect the ability to perform in the bedroom. The truth is, many younger men are having just as much trouble getting and maintaining an erection. For more info, visit my webpage: http://macfittest.com/what-can-cause-erectile-dysfunction-in-a-young-man/ ...

This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to came here ! Thanks for sharing the such information with us.


Our company is manufacturing more product of different kinds for this site . it is very nice quilty and so better than others I want that you are visiting our this site thanks.

Save the marriage free

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!

save the marriage free download pdf

I commend your hard work on this and thank you for this information. You’ve got what it takes to get attention.

wall sticker art

Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

hosting murah

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics , i will be always checking your blog thanks.

Yoga Classes in Goa

I thought it was going to be some exhausting old post, however it truly made up for my time. I will present a connection on this page on my web journal. I am certain my guests will find that extremely helpful.

Taparton Complete Cleanse Takeover

I thought it was going to be some exhausting old post, however it truly made up for my time. I will present a connection on this page on my web journal. I am certain my guests will find that extremely helpful.


Through this post, I know that your good knowledge in playing with all the pieces was very helpful. I notify that this is the first place where I find issues I've been searching for. You have a clever yet attractive way of writing.

Lovetraction Lines

First and foremost You got an extraordinary web journal .I will be intrigued by more comparative points. i see you got truly extremely valuable themes , i will be continually checking your web journal much obliged.

Wedding Cinematography in Delhi

Wonderful site and I wanted to post a note to let you know, ""Good job""! I’m glad I found this blog

Riddleagan Astonishing Melody Remedy

Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually realize what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Please also seek advice from my site =). We could have a hyperlink change contract between us!


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!
Code editor ipad

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.

car finance company

Very interesting blog. Alot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definately interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.

top university in vietnam

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

candyclub reviews

I am so excited that I have found this your post because I have been searching for some information about it almost three hours. You helped me a lot indeed and reading this your article I have found many new and useful information about this subject.

scented candles

rebelmouse.com Michael Fiore And Claire Casey Capture His Heart Review (Ebook FAQ And PDF Download Guide). Capture His Heart by Claire Casey gives you instant, online access to a simple, step-by-step system in which Claire teaches you her powerful secrets, techniques, and ideas for quickly and easily attracting and keeping the attention of any man. This is the exact 3-step process relationship expert Michael Fiore's own girlfriend used to transform him from a self-proclaimed player to her devoted and loving husband and to become a woman he would never even dream of leaving. Please click here website https://www.rebelmouse.com/mikefiorecapturehisheartreview/ ...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

The Anti Aging Institute of The Americas

The information you have posted is very useful. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing..

sod installation plano

You’ve got some interesting points in this article. I would have never considered any of these if I didn’t come across this. Thanks!.

SEO melbourne

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.

Tarbbatigan Millionaires Lecture Tip

https://www.rebelmouse.com/girlfriendsystemreview/ Girlfriend Activation System (GFAS): Christian H. Reveals His Weirdly Effective, 3-Step "Obsession Story" System For Attracting And Dating Amazing Women... Written for consumers by a consumer, this fan site includes a fun and informative Girlfriend Activation System V2 review, ebook FAQ, and PDF download guide that provides an insider's look at the program and answers frequently asked questions about Christian H.'s unique and highly popular girlfriend system. Please visit my webpage https://www.rebelmouse.com/girlfriendsystemreview/ ...

www.girlfriendactivationsystem.co Girlfriend Activation System Review: My First Hand Account. What Is The Girlfriend Activation System? The Girlfriend Activation System (GFAS) is a dating and attraction system created by popular pick-up expert, Christian H. At its core, the system is very simple: it teaches men a multitude of techniques and mindsets for meeting, attracting, and more info, Please click here website: http://girlfriendactivationsystem.co/ ...