Talk of banning Luis Suarez for life or making criminal charges against him for biting Branislav Ivanovic in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea is the over-reaction of a witch-hunt being whipped by by a media frenzy. There are many things that happen on a football pitch that are just as dangerous or outrageous that are not dealt with in such a brutal manner. But the Merseyside club must take the lead and hit the Uruguayan hard with a punishment that has real teeth.
It does not matter how much it hurts Liverpool. But to protect the good name of one of the world’s most famous football clubs, the owners and the management must send out a message that spells out how much shame serial offender Suarez has inflicted on the Merseysiders and the beautiful game.
Unless Liverpool come out and categorically reprimand Suarez and serve him with a minimum of a 10-match ban there is no doubt in my mind that the club’s reputation and image will be tarnished beyond repair. The timing of this latest moment of madness by a player who was being considered for the honour of footballer of the year is beyond embarrassment.
This is the week of the preliminary legal hearing which will set out parameters for new inquests for the 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough. It is another big step on the 24-year road to justice led among others by Anne Williams, who refused to accept the establishment lies about the death of her son, Kevin, and whose own death, four days ago, was remembered with a minute’s applause before the match at Anfield.
Suarez is probably too stupid to recognise the damage he has inflicted. The reality is that he probably needs professional help from a shrink because he has not learned from his previous outrages which include a similar biting incident at his previous club Ajax. That offence three years ago earned him a seven-match ban and he never played for the Dutch club again.
It will be hard for Brendan Rodgers to give up on the outstanding player in his squad. And I believe there is still a future for Suarez at Anfield. But for the good of the game and Liverpool Football Club, how this matter is dealt with in the next 24 hours by the club itself will be crucial on so many levels. Speaking on Sky Sports former manager Graeme Souness spelt it out for the decision makers when he said: “It is about safeguarding the good name of the football club.”