Luis Suarez – An Assessment of Character

Posted: July 24, 2013 in Arsenal FC
Tags: , , , ,

Let’s start with the basic questions that surround the Suarez debate.

Do I like Luis Suarez as a person? Off the pitch, I don’t know. On the pitch, no, because he doesn’t play for AFC.

Do I think Luis Suarez is a racist? No.

Do I think he’s made stupid mistakes? Yes.

Do I think he’s ignorant to his surroundings? Yes.

Do I think he’s the Devil as most would have you believe? No.

Good, with that out-of-the-way, I will continue with my character assessment of a player Arsenal may or may not purchase.

All the debate around Suarez is personality based, there is no question he is a great player, world-class even. He is consistent and his skill is undeniable, and he scores, against everybody, a bully boy he’s not.

Anyway, back to the crux of the issue. After reading the detailed report of the FA investigation of what can and can’t be proven, via testimony, video and admission there are a few things that can be drawn from it.

The most poignant thing I took away from the report after reading all of this is that even the person that was the recipient of the verbal attack from Luis, Patrice Evra, doesn’t think he’s a racist.

So what is Suarez? He’s a player willing to do anything and say anything to get under an opponents skin and he’s ignorant enough not to realize that there is no room for the attack he launched, whether he meant it or not. He took a sporting tactic too far and it was rightfully turned into a social issue.

Why is this even something that could leave his mouth or think of if he’s not racist you ask. Simple. His upbringing in a place where there is a context to all of this.

Suarez is South American (Uruguayan), and in South America you can use such wordage for good or bad. Let me explain, and I do so from experience. I too am from South America (Venezuela) and with similar backgrounds; Suarez having a black grandfather, I have a black grandmother, and so on.

I can go to a family function and I can greet my grandmother or a few aunts and uncles with a “Como estas mi negra?” or “Como estas mi negrita?” Is that racist? No. It’s the context in which it is used. In this context and many like it, for friends and family in our culture, it’s a term of endearment.

Clearly, Suarez wasn’t trying to use it in that context, which is what makes him ignorant.

When you “have words” with someone in South America, there is another context where the use of these is more descriptive than congenial as previously noted, but at the same time not racist; let me explain. If you were having an argument with someone you didn’t know, you could say “que te pasa negro?” “What’s the matter with you black one?”. This can be used and not be racist in South America, it would all have to do with the way it was said and the context of the argument.

Clearly, having the background he does and growing up where he did, he likely used this term to refer to family and friends alike, and likely also used it when arguing. The ignorance of not understanding that the latter of those two scenarios could be misconstrued as being a card-carrying racist by the people in the UK is what is baffling. His head was in the moment, he wanted to get under Evra’s skin and he lashed out with the first stupid, ignorant thing that came to mind.

Racist? No. Stupid? Absolutely.

Now, to put things into further context, Suarez hasn’t been accused of this before or after, hasn’t been prosecuted in the courts as some other’s have.

It is very easy in this day and age to label anyone, anything. The stigma of one action can haunt a person forever even though that action is contrary to anything done before or after.

What’s compounded this is that Suarez is one of those, “I hate him because he’s not on my team.” type of player. He’s a prick and he might end up being our prick, so don’t be so quick to judge THIS aspect of his character before understanding the situation in full.

Now, how can one explain these biting incidents? I can’t. Which is completely different from anything else. He’s a player easily frustrated and that would be the only drawback I see to his signing.

The rest, only time will tell but I could find no history of him being accused of racism before or after. Sensing this is a one time incident, I refuse to indict the man and will chalk it up to ignorance at that point in time — a heat of the moment brash act. Given the fact that AFC have upped the bid on Suarez, you’d have to think Wenger thinks the same way.

Life isn’t always black and white, there are a lot of grays. I know this opinion isn’t the most popular, but hey, we’re all entitled to them.


Edit: Before you get all high and mighty, read this tidbit about Messi and HIGUAIN…



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