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.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

On Luis Suarez' insatiable appetite: Reality Bites

This appears on

Reality bites
by rick olivares pic by matthias hangst/getty images

I am the point where Luis Suarez’ brilliance can no longer cover up for on and off-field disciplinary actions.

As a lifelong Liverpool supporter, I can no longer condone his action and wish to see him away from Anfield lest he continue to tarnish the club’s name, image, and what is on the road to achieving.

For sure, Suarez is a talent; an all-world player who can change the outcome of games with his presence. And that is the beguiling problem. He can win ballgames but he also brings ulcers, headaches, and the wrath of social media upon you.

However, as I said, I can no longer turn a blind eye. Premier League title or no Premier League title. I recall while watching the Liverpool Soccer Schools how this was preached: “Team spirit, hard work, determination and the ability to overcome any obstacles in life and above all play with dignity and fair play.... these are all the values and characteristics we look for in our players.”

Suarez can check possibly the first four characteristics but not the last which is just as important.

Suarez first came to my attention when he was a player for Ajax Amsterdam which happens to be the Dutch club that I support. He was an incredible player who soon found himself in rare air with the great Johan Cruyff, Marco Van Basten, and Dennis Bergkamp who also starred for the club.

In the middle of a suspension after biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal, Ajax, perhaps tired of Suarez’ numerous suspensions and disciplinary problems dealt him to Liverpool. I was ecstatic but wary.

I thought that maybe he had worn out his welcome in Amsterdam (although he departed the club on good terms) but I took note of the manner in which he departed his first Dutch club, Groningen, where he tried to leave as soon as a bigger club (Ajax) expressed interest. Groningen didn’t accept and even won an arbitration case. Only when Ajax doubled its fee was he released.

Before joining Liverpool, there was another red flag as Suarez deliberately slapped a shot by Asamoah Gyan in the 2010 World Cup. He was sent off for his trouble. And to Ghana’s chagrin, Gyan missed the penalty that would have seen them through.

Unlike others who called Suarez’ handball an act of cheating I don’t think so. That is no different from a deliberate tackle to save a possible goal off a breakaway. That is no different from what Marco Materazzi did to get into Zinedine Zidane’s head in 2006.

On to Anfield where he starred to give the Merseyside club its first deep threat since El NiƱo was in these parts. Then came the racist abuse of Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and the biting of Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

The Uruguayan received an eight and ten-match ban (aside form the fines) respectively for both incidents. Suarez proclaimed his innocence with regards to his remarks about Evra and caused further controversy when he refused to shake the MUFC captain’s hand in the pre-game tradition causing further embarrassment for Liverpool.

That he also did not agree with the ten-match ban seemed like he did not appreciate the seriousness of his actions.

In the midst of a tumultuous stay in Liverpool, Suarez tried to force a move to Arsenal prompting further discipline from the club. This reminded me of his time with Groningen and his apparent disrespect towards clubs in order to further his own career if not agenda.

Now in the midst of this wondrous World Cup in Brazil, there has been talk of him leaving for a Spanish club. With that in the backburner, Suarez capped it off with another mad incident wherein he bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini; an incident missed by the referee or the linesman but caught on camera in all its gory detail. What made it even catastrophic for Italy was not only did Suarez avoid being sent off but Uruguay scored off a corner shot mere moments after the incident. This when they had played well despite being a man down after another controversial decision where Claudio Marchisio was dismissed for a challenge. If they sent off Marchisio for that then why wasn’t Neymar given a red card for a blatant elbow against Croatia’s Luka Modric.

But the more grievous crime was Suarez’ insatiable hunger… for controversy and egregious defiance in the face of obvious evidence.

According to FIFA, football’s governing body “can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the player Luis Suarez of Uruguay following an apparent breach of art. 48 and/or art. 57 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ match Italy-Uruguay played on 24 June 2014. The player and/or the Uruguayan FA are invited to provide with their position and any documentary evidence they deem relevant until 25 June 2014, 5pm, Brasilia time.”

“According to art. 77 lit. a of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC), the FIFA Disciplinary Committee is responsible for sanctioning serious infringements which have escaped the match officials’ attention. Furthermore, according to art. 96 of the FDC, any type of proof may be produced (par. 1), in particular are admissible, reports from referees, declarations from the parties and witnesses, material evidence, audio or video recordings (par. 3).”

I have no idea what FIFA will hand down to Suarez. It could be a lengthier ban and another higher sum. Whatever it is, I think it is time that Liverpool take the high road and not bring back Suarez.

This man has serious issues about morals and ethics. He is highly disrespectful and with no regard for history and authority.

It pains me to say that considering what an important player he is for the Reds. But the club has a code of ethics and no longer can anyone turn the other cheek to someone who has no regard for the rules as well as his club and country. Enough of this nonsense.

It might be harder to win that elusive Premier League title but at least we will do it the right way.

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