Tottenham Fan Feels Sorry For Liverpool Over Luis Suarez


Luis Suarez’s comments to the press in his home country of Uruguay that he wants to leave Liverpool because the British media have been too harsh on him over his “mistakes” have brought sympathy for Liverpool Football Club from an unlikely source, a Tottenham fan.

Luis Suarez bites Branislav Ivanovic {Photo: With thanks to @henryhtapper]

Dictionary Corner

The online Cambridge dictionary defines the word mistake as follows:-
1. An action, decision or judgement that produces an unwanted or unintentional result.
2. By mistake = by accident.

In previous blogs I have despaired at the poor standard of language used in ignorance by footballers and sports presenters in the media. There is another even more disturbing trend in the deliberate misuse and manipulation of words by agents lawyers and PR representatives to excuse and mitigate bad or illegal behaviour. I see it in other walks of life too, for example in statements given by defence lawyers after they have lost a case.

The most common example of this is the use of the word “mistake” to describe deliberate bad behaviour when it was not actually a mistake at all. We have seen it used for example to describe an MP’s fraudulent expenses claim or a minister lying to the police about getting his wife to take the points on her licence for his driving offence. These were not “mistakes” at the time they were committed. When the deed was done it was deliberate and produced the desired result so they were not a mistake. The only connection to the definition of “mistake” occurred later when their malevalence is eventually discovered. Only then when they are successfully prosecuted does it prove to have been an unwise action. Just like Hitler invading Poland. Just because it’s all fell down around his ears six years later does not mean he did not mean to do it at the time. Can you see where this is going? Yep, it’s our old friend Luis Suarez. Oliver Kay has been on top form in the Times recently and his article about Suarez‘s statement to the Uruguayan press is admirably restrained. What follows from me is a bit more emotional. It might even qualify as a rant.

Luis Suarez Treated Unfairly

It comes as no real surprise back in his native Uruguay Luis Suarez has now said that he wants to leave Liverpool. He claims that the English media and authorities are treating him unfairly. In particular, he says his biting of Ivanovic was a “mistake” for which he was punished too harshly. The whole point is that it was not a mistake at all. He did it on purpose. There was nothing accidental about it. He did not find the arm jammed forcibly into his mouth and accidentally chomp down on it as he fell. He grabbed it like it was a leg of lamb at a barbecue and deliberately moved his head so that he could fasten his teeth around it. He did make a number of other mistakes at the time. For example he may have mistakenly thought that no one would spot it. It may have been a mistake if he thought he would get away with it, although I doubt he would have thought that because he has been banned for doing the same thing in the past. When he did it at his previous club he was able to use the resulting furore to engineer his lucrative move to Liverpool. When he committed the latest offence I immediately e-mailed Logan our editor to predict that he would try the same thing on again. Here we are less than two months later and he’s doing exactly that.

It’s so sad because Suarez is right up there with the best of them as one of the most skilful footballers currently playing but he repeatedly displays unacceptable behaviour. That cannot and must not be ignored just because he’s good at football. How can he say he is treated unfairly? If I did it I would be charged with assault and sent to jail. The question has to be asked with “characters” and maverick behaviour is just where do you draw the line? If not at repeatedly biting opponents, then where? Racial abuse? Oh, he’s been there, done that too. Rape? Murder? Invading Poland? I feel sorry for Liverpool football club (never thought I’d say that!) If he could behave Suarez would be the world-class player who could finally lead them back out of the doldrums, he is that good. They have already bent over backwards, supporting him further out on a limb than they should feel comfortable about. It could be argued that it cost Kenny Dalglish his job. Now Brendan Rodgers faces a similar predicament.


The only way to curb the use of this misleading language is to challenge it as soon as it happens. When a player or his representative uses the term “mistake” in this way the interviewer should say “but it wasn’t a mistake was it? You did that on purpose.” Suarez is not the only one. To help players understand the correct use of the term they could issue a list of examples of actions that are deliberate and are not mistakes at the time they are committed. For example in addition to those already mentioned, lying, abusing someone, (racially or otherwise), having sex with someone else’s partner, using a prostitute and failing to supply a urine or blood sample when requested. Any of these sound familiar?

Okay, rant over. Hopefully next time something a little more light-hearted.