Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez Need to Put the Handshake Behind Them

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IISeptember 21, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool looks at Patrice Evra of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on February 11, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Don't get me wrong, I love a good rivalry as much as the next guy, but it's time that Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez put their animosity and ill-will towards the other behind them.

It's time that the pair moved on from their infamous handshake snub and focus on playing football and strengthening the great name of the sport that pays them millions of dollars to run around and kick a ball a couple of times per week.

Four months after Suarez had been found guilt of racially vilifying Evra, the Liverpool striker chose not to shake the hand of the Frenchman—sparking a string of coming-togethers by the pair right throughout the match.

And when Manchester United finished the match with victory, the defender then celebrated wildly in front of the Liverpool striker—ensuring that one more clash and confrontation occurred between the two "professionals". 

To be honest, I don't care who started it—I don't care if Suarez thinks he's right or if Evra thinks he's been hard done by. The action, and the decision, are in the past and it's time we left it there and focused on the football.

I mean, it's not like there'll be a shortage of talking points in this one. 

The Red Devils' match against Liverpool is bound to carry a lot of tension and passion simply for no other reason than it involves two big-name clubs who have a long history of not liking the other. And please don't hear me vouching against that rivalry; it's something that I love and hope remains in the game for as long as the game exists.

But this weekend will carry more feeling than normal, with the Hillsborough tragedy recently in the news due to the government's report and subsequent apology. 

Both sets of fans have been urged by their respective clubs not to sing their chants that make light of the disaster or the Munich tragedy—and rightly so (per The Daily Mail). There has to come a point when a line is drawn and respect is given, even to a fierce rival.

Neither club invited nor did they provoke the tragedies on themselves; they suffered greatly, and when we finally seem able to put it behind us and move the game forward, it would be a great shame for chants or actions to bring the game into disrepute once more.

It is time that we put the Hillsborough disaster behind us and moved forward together, and that starts with Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra. For it would be a great shame for the fans to show the respect required, only for the players on the field to not show it themselves.

Regardless of whether you stand for or against the pre-match handshake ritual doesn't matter. At least not this time, not in this match.

What matters in this match is respect and if we're going to call both sets of players professional football players, then it's okay to hold them to such expectations.

They aren't unreasonable and it isn't foolish for both United and Liverpool to think that their supporters, and players, can show enough respect to each other on Saturday that it doesn't boil over and ruin what should be another brilliant weekend of Premier League football.

It isn't unreasonable to expect Suarez and Evra to shake hands, and it's time that the two players put their animosity aside this weekend, for the good of the game.

They can go back to hating each other for the other 364 days of the year, but in this match, and over this weekend, they need to show the respect for each other and their clubs that they deserve.

Hillsborough was a tragedy. Munich was a tragedy.

Heysel Stadium was a tragedy and the hurt suffered by thousands of families throughout all three is a tragedy. 

Two players and a handshake certainly isn't.

It's time they started acting like it.


What will happen between Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez this weekend?

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