Liverpool's Luis Suarez T-Shirts: Reaction from Former and Current Players

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIDecember 22, 2011

WIGAN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21:  Luis Suarez (C) jokes with  Jose Enrique (R) and Maxi Rodriguez (L) of Liverpool as the teams warm up ahead of the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Liverpool at the DW Stadium on December 21, 2011 in Wigan, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

In the pre-game warm up against Wigan, the Liverpool team showed their backing of the under-fire Luis Suarez by each wearing a t-shirt with the Uruguayan striker on the front and his No. 7 logo on the back. 

Their stance was clear. From a team who have gotten to know Suarez well over the past few months, they were making a proclamation that their star player was not the racist player he was claimed to be. 

The F.A did not agree, slapping an eight-match ban and £40,000 fine on him. Additionally, various media outlets reported the criticism from former and current players about the team's display of support. 

The Mirror reported that former Manchester United defender Paul McGrath had tweeted that he was "saddened to see Liverpool players wearing those t-shirts," adding that he would have been "much happier if they had worn anti-racist t-shirts."

McGrath certainly has a valid point. With Suarez and Evra alone supplying the bulk evidence towards the conviction, it would have made more sense for the Liverpool team to further illustrate the misinterpreted comments that Suarez openly admits to making by including an observable version of the Kick It Out logo. 

Then, not only you have a statement of the teammates' support of Suarez, but you also have a backing to the campaign used to stamp out racism. 

What would be a progressive step in the whole event is to input an initiative that introduces international players to the cultural differences of English football. Such players can adapt to what is acceptable and what is not. Further instances from what we have seen with Suarez and Evra could then be avoided. 

Liverpool defender Glen Johnson, however, appears to disagree with the criticism of the Suarez t-shirts. On Twitter, he came out with a staunch defiance to those opposing the move. 

By saying "I will support who I want, when I want" and adding "There are lots of reasons why I'm standing by Luis Suarez," he is tackling the critics head on. It is an added facet to the after effects of the incident and echoes on from similar comments made by Liverpool goalie Pepe Reina. 

With all the discussion about the incident, the t-shirts and the punishment, it at least allows us to dissect the mistakes that have been made so far. Therefore, it forces the emphasis onto what can be done to avoid replicating an unwanted repeat and seeking to once and for all kick racism well and truly out of football.