Bite me.

WalekPeppercomm’s Dmitriy loselevich is a Liverpool fan and a staunch supporter of Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez, despite his Mike Tyson-like biting of opponents. Ioselevich says the public reaction simply isn’t fair. He believes the same holds true for A-Rod.

Do you agree or disagree? Let us know. Enjoy the read and don’t bite anyone at your next meeting….

Child-bitingLuis Suarez bit someone (again) and now faces a potential ban from this year’s World Cup, one that he likely deserves. Biting is no way to play soccer and there’s nothing admirable about sinking your teeth into another man’s flesh just to help your country win a game.

But let’s cool it with all the hateful comments about Suarez being a disgrace to professional soccer. There are far worse role models out there than the diminutive Uruguayan, who despite having made some poor choices in his life is still by all accounts a great teammate and a loving father and husband.

Yet, such is the life of a public figure. Professional athletes, celebrities and politicians are all constantly subjected to a level of public scrutiny so intense that every action—no matter how small or random—is analyzed and debated to death by the hungry mass media until the story swells completely out of proportion.

This is precisely what happened with Alex Rodriguez, who repeatedly faced such scrutiny for allegedly taking performance-enhancing drugs. A-Rod was a popular target for vitriolic sports reporters, with pundits such as the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden calling him “the Whitey Bulger of baseball, the most wanted criminal in the game’s history.” (Mr. Madden must not be familiar with Whitey’s rap sheet). The reality is that the guy took some drugs so that he could be better at this job. How is that any different from young bankers taking Adderall to stay focused?

Meanwhile, some of the true villains of the sporting world get celebrated for their shameless displays of machismo.

Take for example NFL linebacker James Harrison, who has likely shortened the lifespans of dozens of football players because of his reckless hits. Or famed NHL enforcer Marty McSorley, who has earned an astounding 225 fighting majors by pummeling his opponents into a bloody pulp. Don’t even get me started on Ray Lewis.

Yes, these are contact sports and some mutually assured destruction is to be expected. But despicable human beings permeate every sport, and Suarez is simply not one of them.

There is no excuse for what Suarez did and he should probably seek psychological help for his momentary outbursts of aggression. But let’s stop treating him like he’s Charles Manson in a soccer uniform.

He’s not a dog that deserves to be put down. He’s a human being who made a mistake. He’ll suffer the consequences and then return to terrorizing goalkeepers—this time with his legs instead of his teeth. What more could we ask for?

11 thoughts on “Bite me.

  1. And the bottom line is this is soccer…the rest of the world cares but the USA will be over it once they lose to Belgium. Soccer will never attract the premier athletes that the US has to offer…they will always go to Football, Basketball and Baseball. Just like Baseball got all the premier athletes prior to the 1950’s…the US culture will never support Soccer.

  2. Suarez should bite Mike Tyson’s style, then turn this into a book deal and one-man show.
    Jokes aside, pro athletes ARE role models whether they prove it or not. In position to make long-lasting impressions, I find strict accountability necessary. It’s his third time biting an opponent – and he’s saying it’s part of the game – so I think he deserves discipline.
    I agree some athletes are vilified while others are not, but I believe that genuine honesty leads to vindication. If they admit to and apologize for for their mistakes, the offender is likely forgiven. Take Clemens and Pettitte for example.

    • I like that the Italian soccer player that Suarez bit came out and said that he thought the ban was excessive, as did several other high-profile players and coahces. I think that’s telling. Suarez didn’t do himself any favors by trying to come up with a terrible excuse (he fell?), but there is absolutely no way his actions warrant the punishment that he got. (Just as there is no way that A-Rod should’ve gotten a 211-game suspension for a second offence, when all other repeat offenders got only 100 games). A-Rod’s punishment was eventually reduced to 162 games. I think something similar will happen with Suarez.

  3. We could go back and forth all day on the politics of FIFA. My point is that when those players are out on the pitch they have a responsibility to play an ethical game. I agree that no unsportsmanlike conduct should be tolerated, head-butting or slide tackles cleat first. However, it is part of soccer that players routinely throw elbows and worse without the refs calling it. But what Suarez did was above and beyond deplorable because it was a. intended and b. not within within play. He got was he deserved.

    • How do we know that what Suarez did was intentional? Do we honestly think that the bite was premeditated and he was just waiting all game for the right moment to clamp down? Or is it more likely that he snapped for a split second and acted without thinking? After all, strange things happen sometimes when your body is pulsing with adrenaline and the pressure of the world (or at least Uruguay) is on your shoulders.

      If it’s the latter, and I think it is, then wouldn’t he be more deserving of our understanding rather than our judgment?

  4. Dmitriy: “Worse” is subjective. Just exactly where do you draw the line? Also, it’s a sad state of affairs when ANY bad behavior is tolerated. And the argument about being guilty till proven innocent? That’s a little out of line also when millions of people watched this person BITE another. Bad behavior is bad, period. I applaud FIFA.

    • FIFA would do anything to draw attention away from the thousands of people dying in Qatar building World Cup stadiums that will probably never be used. Where’s the coverage of that story?

  5. All very true and I agree with you that Suarez should “suffer the consequences.” However, that doesn’t change the fact that there exists a double standard in sports whereby all athletes are guilty until proven innocent. What Suarez did gets more attention because 1) he’s Suarez, and 2) it’s weird. But plenty of players at the World Cup have done far worse things than bite someone (i.e. sliding tackles to take out someone’s legs, or even Pepe’s headbutt). Yet those players get a red card while Suarez gets a 4-month ban? It doesn’t make sense.

  6. You forgot one crucial point in your argument. These people are paid millions and millions of dollars for what they do and therefore should be held to a higher standard. When Suarez puts on that jersey he is a symbol for all of Uruguay and has brought shame to the country and its fans. When you become a professional athlete you also become a role model and therefore should be scrutinized. Little kids playing soccer across his home country and the world are watching him and hoping to one day be him. He needs to set a better example and he must suffer the consequences for his unsportsmanlike behavior. Otherwise, what message are we sending to our children? It’s okay to cheat, bite and play dirty?