I have been watching intently what FIFA would do in regards to Luis Suarez biting an opponent for the third time in his career in a match. The penalty they handed down was a 9 game ban and 4 months of no contact with any formal soccer related activity. The 4 months runs concurrently with the 9 games and will run out basically the same time depending on how his national team does the rest of the World Cup. Now comes the appeals, whining and outrage from his team and countrymen.
While even the player he bit this time says the penalty is too long and the players union says that it deprives Suarez of his right to work they are off base on this. Lets examine the facts:
- Biting is socially, and morally wrong. We teach our children to not bite because they do not know better. It is a reaction from the child part of our brain.
- Medically a bite can transfer diseases from one person to the next. While he is an athlete and supposedly healthy, he does not know if he has an unknown virus or bacteria in his body that can be transferred via a bite in his saliva. If the person he bites gets sick or gets a disease then that is not something the person being bitten should have to worry about.
- This is the workplace as they are calling it. Does anyone expect to go to work, sit in a meeting, disagree with someone’s proposal and get bitten? No they don’t and it should not be accepted in a sports workplace either.
- There is no RIGHT to work. We have to work to pay for things to live in this world, but there is no right to work. You earn that right in an interview, in the job you do and how you behave within the work environment.
- In the whole scheme of things this is Suarez’s 3rd offense for the same offense. He has not learned a lesson from any of the other sanctions, so something more severe needs to be done.
At the same time FIFA cannot turn a blind eye as the sanctioning body for Soccer and not think about the health and safety of ALL of its members, which Luis Suarez is. They need to have to think about his health and seek out a professional in the medical field to work with Mr. Suarez to help him understand why he reacts this way and how to avoid doing it in the future. If FIFA is not thinking about helping and supporting Mr. Suarez, then they are just as much to blame for his actions as he is. In fact, they will be to blame for any further misdeeds by Suarez because they did not treat the real problem, just a symptom.
Lets stop whining, move forward and help Luis Suarez.
UPDATE 6/29/14 – Luis Suarez last night said that he lost his balance and did not mean to bite his opponent. This shows in even clearer words that Suarez needs professional help. If he thinks that any panel or reasonable person, after watching the clip thinks he lost his balance then he is living in a world of denial. This is also supported by his complaining on the ground that he had been elbowed or shouldered in the face on purpose. The film clearly shows the collision, his gaining his footing, taking a step or two and lunging into his opponents shoulder for the bite. His opponent was going away from him and did not make a movement in his direction at all. The more Luis Suarez says, the more he places himself in a bad place and shows how much help he really needs.