This week's BFP comment dines out on a certain Uruguayan's teeth-led actions as the football world bites back.
LIKE many others, I flicked over from England’s dreary World Cup game against Costa Rica on Tuesday the minute Twitter exploded with comments about Luis Suarez and his problematic jaws.
‘Surely not?’ I thought. Not again? But sure enough, the sublimely gifted Uruguayan, whose genius broke English hearts only a matter of days before, sunk his teeth into an al dente opponent for the third time in his career.
The reaction from the British media was, and is, gigantic. Suarez’s has form after all, gnawing away at the arm of an opponent during last year’s Premier League and feasting on a foe in 2010 while playing for Ajax.
Former Wales midfielder and Afghan hound lookalike Robbie Savage, speaking on the BBC, labelled him a “disgrace” who should never step on a football field again at international level.
And ITV’s Ian Wright used his unique insight to suggest the man may have some “serious problems”, which is surely like pointing out that Napoleon, in his bid for world domination, may have suffered from a touch of small man syndrome.
Of course the man has problems. I heard a radio therapist trying to suggest Suarez’s dental discoveries were down to excitement, rather than any malicious intent or indeed hunger pangs.
I don’t buy that for minute – the man clearly has trouble controlling his temper, and for the red mist to descend so quickly that he doesn’t even have time to raise his fists before lashing out, you’ve got a ticking time bomb.
Let’s face it, in any other occupation or walk of life, the man would have been arrested for assault, if not assessed by mental health experts.
I’m trying to imagine the reaction if, as I write, I were to lunge over my desk headfirst and bury my incisors into the shoulder of the intern. This piece might not see out its pithy conclusion.
And if an understanding employer were to give his visiting plumber a third (third!) chance at fixing boilers only for him register a hat trick of chewed customers, we’d be talking a secure cell for one.
Is this all sour grapes? Are we overreacting in a fit of jealous rage over the man’s undoubted and sublime footballing talents?
Talents which saw him awarded the Premier League player of the season and single handedly destroy England’s hopes of World Cup qualification, let’s not forget.
Suarez himself seems to think so, playing down the story and dismissing bitegate (for we must call it that, musn’t we?) as just something that just ‘happens on a football pitch’.
Well yes, it does when you’re on it, Luis.
FIFA has moved swiftly to ban the biter for nine games and has issued him a four month exile from all ‘football activity’.
This presumably prohibits him from pulling on a football strip and re-enacting fantasised scenes in his back garden of a world cup final victory that could have been, had it not been for his errant teeth.
The last time Suarez flossed with flesh he was handed a ten-game ban, and so FIFA’s actions seem to fall into line with common sense and public opinion, which seems universally swayed against the Uruguayan.
Perhaps you can’t blame the player for trying to play down the scandal. He has to be embarrassed at his actions, in the same way as an alcoholic regrets his drinking each morning. But yet it continues.
As Wright sagely put it, “he’s got some seriously issues, man” and must be helped. To simply point fingers and criticise will get him nowhere.
But the sad fact is the cauldron of hate awaiting him in the stadiums of England next season will hardly act as a soothing therapist chair for Suarez.
And this prospect may just push him over the edge into continuing his oral adventures somewhere sunnier for next term. I hear Madrid tastes nice this time of year.