The FA panel prepare to deliver their verdict

Here follows a suggested draft clarifying statement, from the LFC brother and sisterhood to the rest of the world, as pertains to the matter of Mr Luis Suarez Vs Mr Patrice Evra :

We the undersigned comprehensively understand that racism is a very very very nasty insidious by-product of the human condition. We understand this unequivocally and laud anyone who seeks to better race relations and to be punitive with those who seek to incite racial hatred. We realise fully that it would be pathetic of us if, in defending Luis Suarez we were merely aligning behind our club crest. We get that it is not more important to support your football team than to condemn a racist act. We don’t think the punishment meted out to Luis Suarez is a case of ‘political correctness gone mad’. We don’t need telling this by the wider British media or a half interested public. We know this. We genuinely do. You patronising cunts.

Like his red brethren, Luis Suarez has had just about enough. He wears the haunted look of a man who can’t believe the extent of insanity that has been allowed to envelope him in the past two weeks.

The British press corps just can’t get enough of him and can scarcely disguise their joy at having free reign to tut, head shake, and also to reclaim some high ground after plumbing the depths by association with recent newspaper misconduct scandals.

The merits of the Suarez-Evra case and arcane concepts such as truth and justice have been parked amidst a desire to get in line behind those wanting to be seen to be fighting the good fight against racism.

Not for these folk concerns about the need to side bar into discussions about such foppish indulgences as definitions of racial prejudice amidst changing contexts, or whether somebody actually did the thing that they were being accused of.

It’s enough to be anti racism. It’s an end in itself. A badge of worthiness and superiority.

It has been unedifying to see how this issue has armed so many with a sense of courage to keenly spot a clear wrong from a right. Men and women on streets everywhere know that Luis Suarez deserved one of the harshest sanctions in English football history because ‘he done a racism’. He done a racism, that’s why he got banned for so long. You got to be tough on racism haven’t you? But did he actually do anything racist? He must have done. The ban proves it.

Doesn’t it?

The supporters, however, are working on a high level presumption of innocence, and it is their right to do so. A two dimensional media consensus may want ready villains and victims but those that love Suarez are entitled to demand that the golden one is not damned lightly, entitled to demand that a burden of proof lies with his accusers, and that if he is to be condemned it be by a process that can come close to commanding some respect.

The city of Liverpool has always correctly welcomed a righteous siege, and the last stand of the Suarez citadel feels like a fort worthy of defending.

It seems perverse and somehow ironic that Liverpool must seemingly now fight a new battle on a perceived low ground. It undeniably feels a tad dirty to be taking a corner opposite from the correct fight against prejudice.

This apparent contradiction however is entirely superficial. There is no stance being taken here that suggests a softening of tolerance towards racist attitudes. This is about justice and politics, and about the pernicious persecution of a good man.

If one believes a loved one has been wrongly accused of a murder, it does not suddenly make you ‘soft’ on murder.

Liverpool Football club itself, to enormous credit, has truly captured the soul of its demographic in its spirited response to the news of Suarez’s sanction by the Football Association.

Cries from outsiders of ‘playing to the gallery’ should be swatted aside. Last week at in Wigan Liverpool players displayed their solidarity with Suarez by donning T-shirts emblazoned with his number and image. The press, fairly unanimously, felt this act of comradeship inherently lacked respect towards the ‘kick it out’ anti-racism campaign.

Let’s put T-shirtgate into the correct perspective for the slow witted and the witch hunters then – the show of support for Suarez was so comprehensive, solid and heartfelt, not because the Liverpool players were simply standing by a mate, as an end in itself. They’re standing by Suarez because they firmly believe he has suffered a grave injustice.

Not an injustice in the sense that ‘a bit of racism here and there ain’t that bad, come on, we all do it’, but in the sense that they believe that their comrade is categorically not a racist, didn’t say anything racist, and is innocent of the charges levelled at him. Justice, in their view, has been miscarried.

If they believe that, and they are closer to all the evidence than any member of the press pack or legion of ‘experts’ trotted out in the past week, then that view and stance is to be taken seriously and with respect. It is nonsense to dismiss and sneer it as an act of condoning of racism. In no sense did it represent that.

Liverpool supporters have done their sums, and reached conclusions that will be scoffed at as those of apologists, but if time and respect is given, it can be seen that these conclusions are soundly enough based to warrant the defensive passion displayed. We have Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool Football Club as our witnesses.

No matter that Liverpool football club were actually at the hearing, no doubt have transcripts of it, and have a coterie of legal advisors giving them blunt objective views on all relevant implications, press men like the Daily Mail’s Des Kelly still feel that they can unabashedly alight their soap boxes with not a care in the world and freely damn club, supporters and player . The following from Des is appallingly typical :

Suarez himself admitted he made the remark (negrito), yet argued it would be considered inoffensive in his native South America. So what?  Ignorance isn’t a justifiable defence and saying ‘little black man’ is not a purely descriptive phrase, as some at Liverpool have laughably attempted to argue.

It is a remark designed to belittle and demean and, in that context, it is racist language. 

Moreover, Suarez hasn’t just stepped off a plane from Montevideo. He joined Ajax in the Dutch league in 2007 so has – or should have – a grasp of what is, and what is not, acceptable outside of South America

What Des and the mainstream press are misunderstanding with a consistency across the swathe that defies belief is not that the Liverpool family believe Suarez should ‘get off with it, because ya know, the word he used, you’re kinda allowed to say it, and be a bit racist where he comes from’.

The LFC perspective is that he has fundamentally not used language that can be construed as racist , at all. Full stop.

The media confuse the fact that they can find a literal google translation for ‘negrito’ that if applied in English would seem to clearly reference skin colour with such trivial niceties as the actual applicable definition of the word.

The French use endearments such as ‘ma puce’ or ‘mon petit chou’, which literally translate to the English as ‘my flea’ and ‘my little cabbage’. Had Evra mockingly used these terms at Suarez would the FA or boneheads like Des Kelly have claimed that he was accusing the Uruguayan of being a disease spreading insect or being disrespectful to those of impaired brain function with the vegetable assertion?

Any language student who has attained a level of competence knows that translation is not the art of applying the literal from one culture to another but is attempting to carry over the substance and spirit of what is being communicated.

Crucially in the Suarez case, the problem Brits have with getting this is that our language doesn’t have an equivalent of ‘negrito’. We don’t have words that reference skin colour affectionately.

We do have tame words for people’s places of origin such as ‘jock’, ‘taff’ or ‘Geordie’ and we have benign colloquialisms for hair colour – ginge, blondie – but with skin we draw a line.

We do this because we have history with the pigmentation of flesh. We sent men to far foreign lands where they rounded up men of darker toned skin than their own because they saw them as vulnerable and inferior. The rest, tragically, is history.

We use references to skin tone derogatorily. It’s part of our heritage to do so. It’s our shame and the FA knows this.

It’s not Uruguay’s shame though, and it’s not Luis Suarez’s burden either.

Yes, he was in our country when he happened to be having an altercation with a black man, but he did not use the racist verbal weapons so readily available in our culture (or indeed his own).

He responded, we are lead to believe, to an opponent on a football pitch addressing him in his mother tongue.

Evra, it is claimed, took it upon himself to take the spat into su casa. Suarez, at that moment surely had the right to use language that in his country he knows is simply not racist. He used a term he would just as comfortably have used with the lighter skinned Manchester United players Hernandez and Fabio.

At the point Evra took the discourse into Spanish, Suarez was on on home turf, in his own linguistic back yard, speaking to a non Englishman who had chosen his tongue to communicate in.

The nonsense argument that ‘Suarez has lived in western Europe for ‘x’ years and should know better’ is laid bare. If he and Evra had been speaking English and Suarez said something akin to ‘calm down little black man’, then there’s a case for saying that he must know that people do not speak like this in English, without implication of offence.

The conversation with Evra, though, was not in English, and it is not for the English to decide that this conversation had racist tones.

Why was a respected Spaniard or Uruguayan not trusted to be co-opted onto the FA panel on such a key cultural issue ? Why was a decision on the implications of a conversation in a foreign language left to three Caucasian English men ?

Of course, in the absence of actually neither being at the scene of the crime and misdemeanour we can’t know what Suarez actually intended nor what Evra contrived or contributed. Did Suarez use ‘negrito’ in a sentence such as ‘calm down bro’, or did he racistly patronise Evra with the equivalent of ‘calm down little black man’ ?

It’s reasonable to suspect that Evra and the FA have gone with the latter interpretation. We can assert with confidence, however, given the virulence of LFC statement on the FA’s judgement, that the club and player are firmly convinced of the former emphasis.

Furthermore there have been leaks to suggest the key offending term was not ‘negrito’ but the potentially more explosive and internationally more recognisable ‘negro’.

Again, given the reaction of Suarez and LFC it is reasonable to assume that when Suarez stated in a recent interview that he called Evra a word that ‘his own team mates would use with him’ that he was more likely to be referencing the harmless diminutive version, ‘negrito’.

So it comes down to one man intended one thing, another man received that intention entirely differently . Word against word. Interpretation against interpretation. Will against will. So where is the FA’s case ?

Did they look at the respective credibilities of the protagonists and find that one had a more honest disposition than the other? A tricky and risky call if they chose that route. Did they consider if one man had a penchant for racism, or was circumstantially likely to default to racist name calling? Did they for one nano-second give a man the benefit of more than reasonable doubt ?

Why too, has the apparent allegation from the LFC camp that Evra initially racistly labelled Suarez a ‘Sudaca’ just been parked ?

Not that this even would justify a racist retort from the Liverpool man, but surely as a minimum, in the FA’s simplistic world view, this should have been seen as a case of a tit for tatting. If Evra was racist first it wouldn’t exonerate Suarez, but in ignoring Evra’s contribution the credibility of the FA’s process is entirely self undermined, and in turn the case against Suarez is inherently weakened.

The truth is that, regardless of what the FA’s belated official statement on this affair will say, they found the case too complex and nuanced so they went with crudest version of objectivity they could contrive.

Make no mistake, Suarez has been damned because the word used in his language in English refers to skin colour, and in English if you do that you are de facto being insulting and racist. There is virtually no room for manoeuvre in Anglo Saxon parlance.

The FA consider that in Suarez’s land you can say what the fuck you like, because, ya know, they’re a bit (whisper it) backward in those hotter far-away places. They’re not up to speed on the liberal dinner party etiquette that Daily Mail, King and country FA stalwarts can always be counted to keep abreast of.

How ironic that a traditional bastion of conservatism (in every sense) such as the football association now finds itself a standard bearer for equality and the fairer society.

We at the FA and we are now down with the kids and this whole 21st century PC speak thing. We love black people. Gays ? Those guys are great too. More of them the merrier. Anyone who doesn’t like them wants shooting, or stringing up, or to be forced to do some national service or something. That’ll straighten them out.

You can’t, it seems, teach old dogma new tricks. The irony that in belatedly adopting liberal ideals a Jurassic institution such as the FA are only mentally able to take on things as complex as ideals in their primary school two dimensional forms.

God forbid they see the perversity in their riding rough shod over the subtleties of a man’s culture and use of language in a shallow and transparent attempt to be seen to be surfing the big wave of righteousness.

We the outsiders, reduced to trying to sneak a peek into the Suarez-Evra case through the cracks in the press , or via our club’s defiant statement are left ultimately with one key decision.

Who do we trust the most to be telling us the truth and interpreting this situation correctly ?

This then is the crux of why Liverpool fans assert their right to defend their champion, and to do so with their moralities held high.

The world accuses us, of course, of flagrant partisanship. Guilty as charged.

We are partisan with this incarnation of Liverpool football club (as opposed to the Hicks/Gillett monster).

We are partisan with Kenny Dalglish. We now believe in the institution and we have always believed in the man.

We don’t believe in the Football Association and never have done.They have never before stood for truth, meritocracy, justice and fairness. They have so very rarely shown themselves to be able, sensitive and intelligent.

There are no occasions when one can say the FA behaved with nobility and courage. When did that body ever seem anything but a self serving club rife with corrupt cronyism. Never. Ever.

This is our truth, show us yours.


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