Should the FA Ban Liverpool's Luis Suarez for Life After Biting Ivanovic?
Suarez has apologized for the chomp, whatever that is worth.
Liverpool came out strongly after the incident with words—manager Brendan Rodgers stated, "There is certainly no one bigger than this football club"—but hardly with actions, fining the talented yet foolhardy striker a mere two weeks' wages.
The FA will surely punish Suarez more severely than Liverpool's mild slap on the wallet, already indicating his actions warrant something beyond a three-match ban, with a hearing scheduled later this week. Per TheFa.com:
It is alleged that the conduct of Suarez constitutes violent conduct and it is The FA’s contention that the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient in these circumstances.
Clearly. In fact, the incident was so clearly "violent conduct" that Suarez shouldn't just be suspended for the remainder of Liverpool's season—four matches—but a case can be made for the FA to ban Suarez forever.
When you look at it objectively, there is a rather strong case.
This isn't the first offense for Suarez. Not only has he been suspended in the Premier League before—most notably an eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra—he has been a poster boy for poor player behavior. He has been caught diving (which warranted a ban), he has flipped off the fans of an opponent (banned) and kicked another player in the stomach, and that's just in the last two years.
Surely the list goes on.
One could suggest that most of what Suarez has done to sully the image of Liverpool in his short time in the Premier League was done in the heat of the game—certainly he's not the only player to ever dive or kick another player during the course of play—but this last incident goes far beyond anything else he has done.
There is no apology that can change the fact that Suarez BIT ANOTHER PLAYER while on the field.
How long should Suarez be banned by the FA?
Biting is what babies and untrained dogs do. I don't mean that in any flippant way either: Trained dogs don't bite people. But Suarez thought in the heat of the game that the most effective method of gaining an edge on his defender was to bite him in the arm.
Let's remember: This wasn't the first time Suarez has bitten a player.
Liverpool didn't care about the biting then, and all the lip service in the world, pardon the pun, won't change the fact that a small fine shows Liverpool doesn't care about the biting now.
Of course, if Suarez wasn't filling the net at near record pace for the club, they might take more of an issue with his complete lack of discipline and respect.
If Liverpool won't take this biting incident seriously, the FA should.
Just last season, Joey Barton was suspended 12 matches when in the season-deciding match between QPR and Manchester City, he went insane during the 55th minute, elbowing Carlos Tevez and, after receiving a red card, kicking Sergio Aguero in the back of the leg before trying to fight at least half the City squad on his way down the tunnel.
Is what Suarez did worse than Barton?
Remember, Suarez BIT A GUY. It's hard to do anything on the field worse than that. Biting a player is worse than spitting on him. It's worse than an elbow or kick or punch. Now, all three of those acts at once may trump a single bite, so at the very least Suarez should get a suspension similar in length to Barton.
Given his past history of suspensions, Suarez should be playing by a different set of rules than everyone else. Surely he remembers the edict to clean up his act, as he was threatened with a long-term ban after his racism row with Evra should he repeat that offense.
If he still can't control himself on the field after all these chances to rehabilitate, it might the prudent decision by the FA to remove him from the field altogether.
Liverpool has come out and said they plan to keep Suarez. Of course, plans could change for next year depending on how long Suarez gets suspended. If he is available to start next year, or shortly thereafter, Liverpool would be wise to keep him. When on the field, Suarez is one of the most dynamic players in the world.
That said, if Suarez faces a lengthy ban, he serves no use to Liverpool next year.
Keeping him will further sully the franchise's great name and illustrious history either way, so if Suarez is suspended and they can't even reap the benefits of his stellar performance on the field, it stands to reason that a transfer would be in short order.
This decision is now left up to the FA, which has precedent and history to deal with when doling out punishment. Certainly those in charge of discipline will have the past judgment by the Eredivisie as a frame of reference. It stands to reason there likely is no precedent for a second biting offense in one's career.
As fans of the game, we can't let Suarez's excellence as a player sway what should be a reasonable and just punishment. Would banning him from English football for life be fair?
To anyone saying no, remember he BIT A GUY.
Mike Tyson was banned for life after biting the ear of Evander Holyfield, and that was in a boxing match, not a soccer match. Tyson was eventually reinstated after roughly a year, which may be the most fair and reasonable punishment for something like this.
It would not be out of the realm of justice for the FA to ban Suarez for the remainder of this season and all of next, making a clear case that repeated offenses will not be tolerated. Neither will sinking your teeth into another player's flesh.
In all reality, the FA will probably look at previous bans—like that of Barton—and ban Suarez for 10 to 12 matches, hoping against hope it's enough to prod Liverpool to ship him elsewhere in the offseason, making his devilish brilliance someone else's problem next year.
Hopefully, no matter where Suarez plays when next he's allowed on a field, he keeps his mouth to himself.
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