Suarez: Always the Villain, Never the Hero

Luis Suarez - Liverpool Dive

Luis Suarez. There are few names in the EPL, or even the world of soccer, that can elicit as many emotions as that of Luis Suarez. Countless hours have been wasted by those defending his actions and those castigating him. Admit it, every time he goes down you wonder if he dove on purpose or not. Well, he has managed to stoke the fires of the debate this week.

His most recent admission of “inventing” a foul in October’s 0 – 0 draw against Stoke will not help him at all. He is perhaps the most frustrating of all players in the EPL. He has so much talent, but it often gets lost amidst the many accusations thrown against him. The unfortunate part is that his history only adds to the debate. He will need to be extra careful about what he does now, and I’m sure he will get at least one yellow for simulation before the end of the season. The string of seemingly unending controversies surrounding him makes it very difficult to defend the player and taints the view of those watching him (or refereeing).

I however, am going to defend him in this case. Since Suarez’ interview, in which he admitted to diving, Brendan Rodgers has come out to say that Suarez “will be dealt with internally.”  I, for one, do not like the way that this is being handled. Suarez has come out with an admission that has been made by other players before him (i.e. former England/Liverpool starlet Michael Owen) and, in my opinion, is a refreshingly honest statement.

Sure, I can see why Liverpool wants to have a response, but for him to be punished for this is bordering on absurd. It might negatively affect his chances of getting calls in the future, but I feel that punishing him will only lead to fewer chances of honesty from players. I think a better way to handle this whole situation is to have Brendan Rodgers sit down with the player and talk about what is acceptable in terms of diving to stop this from happening again (such as: “Don’t dive”). Perhaps even go so far as to have Suarez come out and give an apology for what happened and show some contrition. What Suarez needs more than anything is some positive PR, especially with his knowledge that his name sells papers.

In this case Rodgers had initially defended the player and seemed to look the other way immediately after the incident in question. Now that the player has actually admitted guilt he has been quite quick to place blame and use “ethics” as his claims against Suarez. If Liverpool want to stop these controversies, they need to start looking internally to preemptively stop them from happening rather than attempting damage control after the fact.

While what he did and what he said may not be the greatest thing to hear, I do like the fact that he was willing to come out and be honest about the incident. I would much rather hear a sports star being honest and open rather than political and full of clichés. My fear is that when a player divulges this sort of information and is punished for it, we the fans are the ones who get the bigger punishment. Instead of getting players willing to talk we get players who will wonder if they should ever be honest.

What do you think of his admission of diving? Was he right to come out and give the interview? Should he be punished by Liverpool?