Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Much ado about “the snubbed handshake” by Luis Suarez on Patrice Evra

Much ado about “the snubbed handshake” by Luis Suarez on Patrice Evra
by rick olivares

I am sorry but I think that people are making mountains out of molehills about Luis Suarez’ refusal to shake Patrice Evra’s hand before the Liverpool-Manchester United match last Saturday. Since when do you have to be friendly with an opponent? I am of course, not making light of racism having experienced it while working abroad. I do not like it and do not believe it has any place in today’s society or sports events. Now whether Suarez actually uttered such abuse on Evra or not, the Uruguayan (whose grandfather is black) was served a suspension (whether rightly or wrongly). But so what if he refused to shake Evra’s hand? If I were Manchester United, I’d go kick Liverpool’s butt. Oh, you mean they did? Damn.

Isn’t it farcical when teams shake hands prior to kick off and during the match they engage in shoving matches and what not? Case in point in yesterday’s UAAP men’s football match between UP and DSLU. At one point during the first half, the Maroons skipper Nathan Octavio and Green Archer striker Gio Diamante were battling for ball possession when the latter slightly pushed the former but not even enough to cause him to fall or lose his balance. Octavio exploded and angrily raised his fists but the referee and other players stepped in between. So much for the pre-game shake of hands.

On the other hand, there’s also the matter of not shaking hands after a game. In the recent Australian Open, Czech tennis pro Tomas Berdych refused to shake the hand of Nicolas Almagro after he defeated the latter in a fourth round five-setter. During the match, Almagro hit Berdych in the arm while trying to win a point. Berdych took umbrage at what he thought was a deliberate shot at him hence his refusal to shake hands. The Australian crowd lustily booed Berdych after the match.

During the fifth game of the 1997 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan refused to shake Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning hand before tip off. Mourning’s Heat prevented a Bulls sweep with a Game Four victory in Miami and in the late stages of that match, he landed a vicious elbow to Scottie Pippen that left a huge knot on his forehead. Jordan was angered by what he thought was the Heat’s excessive physical game and the elbow to his teammate. Prior to Game Five, he called the match “personal” hence, the handshake snob.

But back to Suarez and Evra as well as their respective clubs.

There is nothing sporting about the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United. Whether it is Alex Ferguson’s comments, Rafael Benitez’ tirade against Ferguson, the dislike and taunting between the two clubs and what have you, it has been a white-hot rivalry since former LFC player Matt Busby turned United into a power. It will always be like that – intense, hot, and sometimes even controversial.

Now as for Evra celebrating post-win against Liverpool… yes, it might have been a little too much. But I think that’s fine. They did pull out a huge win after all because they went on top of the English Premier League standings. As for celebrating right beside Suarez, I am not sure if it was intentional or not and yet, as wrong as it is, I don’t particularly care. All I wanted as soon as Phil Dowd blew the final whistle was for Liverpool to beat United next time around and send them packing as they did in the FA Cup.

All this overshadowed the game where Liverpool’s hesitation to attack and take the game to United told on them in the end. I thought that Kenny Dalglish also made a few tactical mistakes by not starting Craig Bellamy and Charlie Adam who could have really helped with their ball distribution and ability to score. The Reds played with a lack of fire and only came alive after the minutes were dwindling away and Suarez pulled back one.

I didn’t think much of the snubbed handshake and post-game celebration. That is until everyone started talking about it. Now unless someone does an Eric Cantona and kicks a fan in the head all over again, let’s not make mountains (and now it is) out of molehills and just keep the talk about what Liverpool needs to do become a serious contender again and whether United has what it takes to stave off Man City.



  1. u really love liverpool!! Peace!

  2. it matters when the kids start imitating.

    also, what happened to "FAIR PLAY"?