Jan 072013

Gabriele Marcotti tries to make the point on Soccernet that Liverpool FC’s Luis Suarez should have admitted his handball against Mansfield Town to the referees, if only to improve his reputation:

Suarez has a poor reputation in England, as evidenced by the fact that his propensity to go down easily means that, at times, he gets fouled and officials don’t give him the benefit of the doubt. This was a missed opportunity to polish his image a little bit, without any great cost or inconvenience to him. And, referees being what they are, you can’t help but feel that the next time there’s a controversial handball incident involving him, they’ll come down harder than they would otherwise.

Bollocks. Suarez has come so far in his role as villain that were he to have tried to give the goal back, the futbol intelligentsia would have cast it as a shallow and blatant attempt to curry favor with the English public and the referees in order for him to continue pillaging towns and killing babies with impunity, as he so obviously does. Not as a sincere attempt at sportsmanship in favor of gamesmanship.

I also thought this was a good take from one of the commenters on the story:

People will always moralize an athlete without regard to context. Suarez clearly has questionable on-field ethics, when his blood is pumping hot and the game is on. Yet his off field attitude has yet to show the same on field exploits. He is a fierce competitor, derived from his street urchin days in Uruguay, playing football without shoes against bigger and meaner opponents. His family was incredibly poor, as was his education. These facts have combined to make him incredibly competitive and driven to win and succeed, without regard to sportsmanship. Sportsmanship wasn’t part of his life, as it has been for most people reading these pieces; who grew up playing politically correct suburban football, with trophies for everyone. Stop moralizing without context, enjoy the game and try to separate real life from the gladiator ring.


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