Calculated Logic Behind Liverpool's Defense of Luis Suarez

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I wrote a thoughtful piece at the Run of Play on linguistic differences between Spanish and English. Since then, the FA has banned Luis Suarez for 8 games based on allegations that he made racist remarks. I don’t care to get into the mucky and murky waters of administrative proceedings. Rather, I want to focus on Liverpool’s official statement in response. Why? Well, because unlike other snobby bloggers, I can see the logic. The calculation is simple, yet makes perfect sense.

And now we must take this logic to its rightful conclusion.

First, the opening argument is weak. Basically, it mixes circumstantial evidence and character defense. Scousers claim that Suarez has a black grandpa and therefore cannot be racist. In sum, blacks can’t be racist. This is preposterous. Prejudices lurk deep inside all of us. Once prominent African American activist Jesse Jackson said that his greatest shame was hearing youth behind him in a dark alleyway, turning around, and being relieved to see they were white. We can all be prejudiced against our own race. But the debate doesn’t end there.

Second, and more subtly, there exists an ingenious & unassailable formula of an argument. Liverpool pointed out that Suarez had black teammates and black friends. Concisely put, the equation appears to be Luis Suarez + black friends = not racist = did not make racist remark. However, Liverpool argued that the word “negro” was not racist in Spanish-speaking countries. Thus, they admitted to him using that word. The equation is more nuanced.

Therefore, the actual formula is: Luis Suarez + black friend = okay to make racist remark. The underlying logic is that one cancels out the other. If you are nice to a black person one day, then that cancels out being racist the other. From a utilitarian perspective, this makes perfect sense. In fact, in cost/benefits analysis, this would make the world a much better place. I can dig this. In fact, I will now expound on this equation for the benefit of all humanity.

Let’s take a totally wild example. Let’s assume that John Terry, captain of England and upstanding human being, utters a racial epithet during a game. I know, I know, it’s preposterous but bear with me. So, JT makes a racist comment. BUT, what if JT invites Ashley Cole over to his house for dinner? What if JT invites Ashley Cole and Bosingwa and Drogba over to his house for dinner? From a global societal perspective, he has lowered the quality of life of one black person, the victim of the racial epithet, but also improved the lives of three other black people. Now imagine if every racist did this. Black people would have countless dinner invitations and be really happy. What a wonderful world it would be!

Just to clarify, I’m not saying that Suarez can just invite over Glenn Johnson to play XBox for 12 hours and all’s well. No no no. It must be somewhat sincere. Still, if society is ever to conquer racism, then we must accept the Liverpool formula and try to rehab the racists. We must oblige them to form superficial friendships and acquaintances so as to cancel out their deeply held racist thoughts and prejudices. If Suarez goes to the mall right now, this very minute, and meets and befriends two black guys, then I just may be able to forgive him. And isn’t that what stereotypical tokenism is all about?

Now, some cynics will say this logic is a “get out of jail free” card. They are wrong. You can’t go to jail for making a racist remark in a soccer game. You just get suspended and fined. Case closed!

10 thoughts on “Calculated Logic Behind Liverpool's Defense of Luis Suarez

  1. The FA are the one who are real RACIST. How can u ban a player without evidence. We seek justice for Luis Suarez, YNWA!

  2. he said negrito, not negro. no one offended except evra. most people defend suarez in this one. well, when you are not seeing things from a neutral point of view, you come out with this piece of crap

  3. The point is not whether Suarez has black friends or not. The point is that he had been in England for less than six months, he was away all summer, when this happened and he barely speaks English. In that sense the cultural differences make a huge difference.

    There have been plenty of people, compatriots, ex-managers and team mates who have said that Suarez has never done anything of the sort. What got him banned was the word of a single individual who has a history of playing the race card, unfounded accusations. In a case of he said/he said the decision was left to a panel with close ties to the Ferguson family. Well done Football Association!

    The alleged conversation:
    “Don’t touch me you South American!”
    “Porque negro/negrito?”

    Is not Evra’s comment at least xenophobic if not racist as it was said in an angry manner? Is it impossible that Suarez’s response is a natural and neutral way to react for a person from Uruguay?

    • Wow what a total blinkered view on life you have racism is racism he can speak english and he does well from his days at Ajax despite being a dutch club english is actually the second most spoken langauge and on a daily basis He’s admitted to calling Evra a N*G*O it may be accepted in Uruguay but he hasn’t lived there for over 5 years. Away all summer defend racism pfft shame on you

  4. Hey everybody, I already wrote about cultural linguistic differences at Run of Play. My focus was on the flawed logic within parts of the Liverpool statement. If the FA panel was wrong, then Liverpool can appeal. Right?

  5. So should all players or fans who use descriptive terms be repremanded,football players get called things like fat, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, lanky usualy followed by an expletive every week, by fans and other players. Yet somebody even mentions the word black even if its not said in a bad nature is severely punished. I am the furthest person from being a racist u can meet, to the point where I believe true rasists should be eradicated from all sports and banned for life. But things are getting silly now it comes to something these days when black bags can’t be call black bags anymore and my child has to sing baa baa rainbow sheep in school, for fear of being racist, what is a rainbow sheep? Listen to a few rap songs and the way that people like snoop dog and 50 cent talk, then tell me that Suarez is racist.

  6. @ Elliot: And I gotta admit your article about the cultural differences was much better than this one. I can see the sarcastic twist but you’re basically just ignoring what you said in that earlier article which makes for quite a shallow read.

  7. Marc – glad you liked the RoP post. This admittedly flippant article was in response to Liverpool’s statement, which contained some shallow logical fallacies. I can totally understand, for a part, the point that “negro” in Spanish is definitely not the same as “negro” in English. However, the other claims got treated as they deserved to be. Not one of these angry Scouser comments has tried to defend the actual target of this post: the LFC statement.

  8. Elliot I get it!! …the LFC statement (which is yr article’s focus, not the alleged Suarez and Evra exchange, not the FA ruling, not racism, or linguistics) was flawed in the logic of its argumentation and with an eye to critical race theory ya sarcastically pointed them out. The content of the LFC statement contains many of the normative nuances that accompany institutionalized/structural racism which are rarely engaged and which are far more nefarious than the varieties of prejudicial behavior that often get confused as being synonymous to racist systems.