Thursday, December 22, 2011

What message does your T-shirt send?

The T-shirts worn by Liverpool players – and manager Kenny Dalglish - supporting the banned Luis Suarez may have seriously undermined football’s alleged zero tolerance to racism.  Suarez, the Reds’ Uruguayan forward, was banned for allegedly using a racist term to Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.

This doesn’t make Liverpool’s players or manager racist, but perhaps misguided.  Whether Suarez used the offending term (which may have different implications in his homeland) or not, the guilty verdict marks the record books officially as Suarez having committed the offence.  Public displays like this, though laudable for attempting to support a mate, therefore support not only the player but also, by implication, his actions he was suspended for.

This incident could have come about as a result of a misunderstanding, mis-translation or spite – from either side.  However it started, Liverpool have been placed in a situation where, with the bigger picture in mind, T-shirts supporting Suarez have the unwitting side-effect of undermining football’s anti-racism message.

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