Friday, June 14, 2013

When the going gets tough, Luis Suarez gets out

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Those sounds you hear emanating from Liverpool aren’t Billy Ocean’s 1985 hit*, but of Luis Suarez’s discontent.  The going’s gotten tough – and now he wants out.

The Liverpool forward – who came within a suspension of claiming the 2012-13 Premier League Golden Boot – has this week repeated his statements that he wants to leave England due to the biased nature of the Football Association and the pervasive English media. 

Amongst Suarez’s body of “proof” is the eight game ban levied upon him for making racially-charged comments to Patrice Evra when “England’s own” John Terry received a four match sanction for similar actions.  While he has a point – racial abuse is racial abuse – Luis Suarez’s situation is entirely of his own manufacture.  For him to want out now is a disrespectful to his manager, club and supporters.

Ignoring for a moment his Dutch ban for biting and the histrionics surrounding his World Cup Quarter Final handball, Suarez has repeatedly shown a willingness to operate outside the spirit of the game.  This is nothing special – you’d venture to say that most players if presented with the opportunity would embrace an advantage – but what makes Suarez’s case “special” is the public nature in which these incidents occur.

Luis Suarez, startling talent though he is, behaves badly in perhaps the most public place on Earth – an English football pitch.  It is this willingness to work so visibly outside the spirit of the game that have earned him the scrutiny he now disdains. 

Without doing the rap sheet thing again, his recent interviews in Uruguay have shown a remarkable ability to apply reason to recidivism.  Those interviews neglect to mention, however, that each indiscretion has been under his control, the result of his decisions. 

Sometimes Suarez happens upon a point of some reason – in this case that the footballing public has been unable to judge him solely on his footballing ability.  This of course is true, but simply because the player has made a judgment of independent football talent impossible because of the circus of malfeasance in which he so readily engages.  After three years of constant, tiring uproar, there is now no separation between his play and his on-field persona, warts and all.

Throughout his time on Merseyside, the Kop – and his managers – have supported him.  He has become one of the league’s best players and one of its handful of truly influential players.  For him to want out – ostensibly to Real Madrid – after having such a large and vocal supporter base back him so often reflects very poorly on him.

When faced with a sticky situation of our own design, few in life have the option to bolt and therefore we must live with our decisions.  Most realize that if our actions put us into awkward circumstance, we must make the best of it: either to make it right, or to cope (and hopefully flourish) from prior choices.  For that to happen though, there must be an awareness of how one arrives at their current position – discernment Luis Suarez apparently lacks.

*I will take any excuse to link to a Billy Ocean music video.

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