Racism is never right. We are all equal beings, trying to maneuver our way through this thing called life. No one better than another. The eight match ban that Luis Suarez received (a bit much) has been served and we can move on, right?
Wrong! "The Handshake" (or lack there of) has now moved this rivalry into the next phase of football drama between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra (and to a larger extent, Liverpool and Manchester United).
Who's to blame? Is it Suarez for his lack of respect in passing by Evra during the pregame handshake? Is it Evra for being miffed by Suarez's lack of respect and jerking his arm away from David de Gea? Or is this really a non story that needs to be put to rest quickly and quietly?
Initial blame lies with Suarez for his previous comments to Evra. There is no excuse for those kind of comments on the field.
I understand that emotion is running high and tempers are flaring, but making comments about another player's race (or family, Marco Materazzi) can result in bad feelings and awful repercussions (or a well-placed headbutt, Zinedine Zidane). However, the reaction of Evra today to being "dissed" by Suarez was not only poorly timed but immature.
There is no rule stating that during the pregame handshake, you must actually shake the hands of every opposing player. Many players throughout the years have refused to shake hands at the start of a game (former friends Wayne Bridge and John Terry come to mind). This is up to the discretion of the players and is in no way mandatory.
I actually was not very surprised, given their recent history, to see Suarez move past Evra like he was not even standing there (his hand by his side, by the way). What did surprise me was the way that Patrice Evra reacted, pulling Suarez's hand away from de Gea and making gestures toward him as if Evra could not believe that Suarez would not want to shake hands and make nice.
He should have let him pass.
The best way to handle the moment would have been to let Suarez walk by and get on with the business of football (Bridge and Terry again come to mind).
True to form, Patrice Evra, class player that he is, upped the stakes at the end of the game, walking directly in front of Suarez and celebrating with his back to the Liverpool player. If Luis Suarez showed a lack of respect by passing on a handshake, then Patrice Evra did a proverbial "spit in the face" in retaliation.
Where this goes from here is ultimately up to the players. The FA can suspend and the respective teams can fine, but in the end it has to be Suarez and Evra who are willing to let the situation come to an end and get back to their business on the field.
After watching today, I am pretty sure that the score has yet to be settled and another incident is in the making.