DEFENDING LUIS “MANDIBLES” SUAREZ
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez has been banned for nine international matches. We think that’s a little harsh.
First off, when his teeth came in contact with Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder, did he chew anything? We didn’t see any chunks of shoulder on the soccer field. With Evander and Tyson, there was evidence. Visual evidence of something, that was once, now no longer there. When Kelyn Block’s teeth came in contact with Hollis Price’s elbow in the 2002 NCAA basketball tournament, fragments of Block’s teeth were embedded in Price’s tricep. That’s evidence.
Giorgio Chiellini didn’t show much evidence of a deliberate bite. All he did was run around with his shirt pulled off his shoulder like a runway model. No blood squirting, no deep impressions. If anything, Chiellini pushed his delicious Italian morsel of a shoulder tantalizingly close to Suarez’s chompers. And, sometimes you’ve got a taste for Italian, especially when you’re in the 79th minute of a match.
Some people are saying wait a moment, Stan, this guy has a rep. He was the top scorer and was voted Footballer of the Year in the Premier League but didn’t he get banned for seven games when he bit Otman Bakkal on the shoulder in 2010? Yes he did. It was during a heated argument and his mouth did contact Bakkal’s shoulder but again, more of a love bite, no deep teeth marks. Was that acceptable? Of course not, but remember, we’re discussing soccer with guys taught not to use their hands. Head moves, head butts (Marco vs. Zidane) and face moves are all they got.
Uruguay says it was a set up to oust their best player. Some saying Suarez is among the five best in the world. They claim Italy targeted Suarez for aggression by insulting him and having staff members lining the field trying to hit him. Uruguay says every time Suarez went to the ground, Italians were goading him to retaliate. We’re wondering what kind of insults they could be throwing at him. “Bakkal says you’ve got little baby teeth!” “Where’s your teething ring? We hear you like to bite things.” “Why don’t you play Rugby? They bite each other all the time.”
There are posters at bus stops all around Sao Paulo showing Luis with his mouth open and fans taking pictures with their arms or shoulders right under the teeth. Some of the memes featuring Suarez have gone overboard, like showing him in a Hannibal Lector mask as a child, in a Jaws poster in the water under the swimmer, in a Hungry, Hungry Hippo ad with all four of the hippos having Suarez heads, in a Snickers ad which says “Hey, Suarez, next time you’re hungry have a Snickers” or “You’re not you when you’re hungry” or portraying him as a vampire. However, if there were such things as vampires, we imagine when they go out at night, if they’re soccer fans, they’d be wearing the # 9 Suarez jersey.
Brazil’s Diego Maradona says the World Cup has seen a lot worse foul play than the bite and all those incidents have gone unpunished. Maradona considers the Suarez bite “incidental contact.” We concur. Some want to ban him for life but we say if you can’t use your hands in a fight, the “no handsies” rule, what are you left with? Nose fight? Line up nose to nose? Argentina would always win, if Manu Ginobili were on their team. Chin fights? Beating the clef out of one another? We think not. We don’t excuse Suarez. We just think if there’s a skirmish, let them use their hands… then toss ‘em.