Don’t worry, the internet has had far too many rants about Suarez being victimised by the press, nearly as many as actual rants victimising him – and this is not one of them.
Although while we’re all here, let’s have a quick one.
My gripe is with a disjointed article on the BBC by Paolo Di Canio about ‘handballgate’ – Luis Suarez’s handball during a goal against Mansfield in the cup.
The problem begins in the first section, a horrible sweeping generalisation called “Sportsmanship is a dying art”. He states that players should act genuinely at all times and admit any dishonesty, he doesn’t mention exactly where they will be buying the unicorns from but it’s a nice sentiment. Obviously he believes Suarez should have admitted the foul, but says he would only “consider taking action” if it was his player.
He then floats down from sporting heaven on a soft cloud of sportsmanship talking about his famous catch against Everton. The act won him the FIFA Fair Play Award and was a great moment to see. He continues, saying that he doesn’t think we’ll see another act like that very often. Except this similar act that happened in July…
My biggest problem is the hypocrisy that emerges later in the article when Paolo talks about the goal he scored against Barthez who was pointing at a bird. Let me put two sentences from the article together so Suarez gets the definitive message about how to handle (get it?) the situation.
A player has to be genuine at all times. If, after one second, a player realised what he had done was dishonest, then he should tell the referee. It is not fair to take advantage of such a situation.
My view in life is always to act first, then discuss the consequences. I brought this into my football career, so my only thought at the time was to put the ball in the net and then check what the linesman was doing.
I know what the crazy Italian is going for there, but what’s to say that Suarez didn’t just “act first” and play to the whistle (which never came)? It doesn’t make it right, but it also doesn’t make him open to lessons of sportsmanship from a man who once did this:
Let’s just hope that we get a great game at Old Trafford where the two best strikers in the league try to outperform each other and we come away talking about football. Let’s also hope that Di Canio sticks to football and not journalism.