Suarez and Terry: When What Happens Off The Pitch Trumps What Happens On It
It’s a sad reflection on the state of football and humanity when racism charges trump football. I do not condone racism, but the media frenzy regarding the charges The FA has made against Luis Suarez, followed by the news that John Terry will be charged for the alleged racist comments made in a recent match, is out of control. In a mid-week when we saw two of the most entertaining Premier League matches of the season (Wolves against Norwich, and Newcastle against West Bromwich Albion), it’s a shame that they were largely ignored by the football public.
In my opinion, we need to pause for a minute and realize where these cases stand. John Terry is innocent until proven guilty, and his court case isn’t until February. The way that some football fans have been reacting to the news regarding Terry’s upcoming court case is one that harbors on a personal satisfaction in seeing this man’s name dragged through the mud. I know part of it is football banter (supporters wanting players of opposing teams to fail), but let’s wait until he receives his sentence before pontificating on whether he’s “scum” (or not), shall we?
The same applies to the Suarez case. None of the evidence or reasoning for the findings has been made public, so I think it would be appropriate for us to wait until the evidence is shared before deconstructing whether the punishment matches the crime. Plus, we will need to wait to hear how the appeals process goes to see if the charge is reduced by The FA.
While I appreciate that racism should not be swept under the carpet and should be dealt with severely, these two stories show that what happens off the pitch is now at a point where it’s more important than what happens on it. Premier League football has become secondary unless it’s a match involving the “Sky Six.”
I realize that this article, in itself, is part of the problem, talking about the Suarez and Terry stories instead of rambling on about how wonderful some of the midweek matches were, but I want to express my feelings regarding these controversial stories. Even the EPL Talk Podcast went into length regarding the topic, but based on the nature of the show (i.e. analyzing and discussing the week’s news), it would have been extremely peculiar (and disrespectful) if the podcast hosts had ignored the topic entirely.