Liverpool Club Focus – Suarez ban splits opinion

If the Football Association thought that Liverpool would quietly accept Luis Suarez’s eight-match ban for racially abusing another player, then they were clearly wrong. Ever since the crafty Uruguayan was accused two months ago, the Reds have shown complete support for their star striker. Statements have been released and shirts have been worn to prove that the squad are fully behind their man, but public opinion is split over whether Liverpool are right to show such enormous backing for Suarez.

Those who are sympathetic towards the former Ajax forward – particularly Liverpool supporters – believe that the FA have been too harsh in their verdict and are simply trying to make an example of Suarez. Their main argument in favour of the 24-year-old stems from one fine detail in what has been a complex case. The highly-rated forward allegedly called Manchester United defender Patrice Evra ‘negrito’ during the game between the two sides in October. According to many Spanish speakers, the term ‘negrito’ is not offensive in South American culture. Therefore, they say, Suarez is innocent.

And there are many people who have shown encouragement for the Uruguayan. The Liverpool squad released a statement, part of which read: “Luis Suarez is our teammate and our friend and as a group of players we are shocked and angered that he has been found guilty by the FA. We totally support Luis and we want the world to know that. We know he is not racist.” Former Liverpool player John Barnes, who was racially abused himself as a player, said: “From a cultural point of view, Suarez has been backed by people from Uruguay saying the word he used is not deemed as a racist term.” He added: “Racism has to be zero tolerance but this is now a witch hunt.

But others remain unconvinced by that argument and believe that the Liverpool players’ decision to wear t-shirts in support of Suarez ahead of the Wigan game was distasteful. One critic was BBC 606 pundit and Blackburn Rovers striker Jason Roberts, who used his Twitter account to voice his disapproval. He wrote: “The stance on the Su

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