Liverpool's reaction to Luis Suarez racism ban condemned by former Newcastle defender Olivier Bernard

The retired left-back turned anti-prejudice campaigner believes that the Reds' decision to wear T-shirts in support of their penalised forward gave the wrong impression
Former Newcastle defender Olivier Bernard has condemned Liverpool’s reaction to the eight-match ban imposed on striker Luis Suarez.

The Uruguay international was fined £40,000 by the FA on Monday and handed the suspension for allegedly racially abusing Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra, prompting the Reds' squad to warm up for Wednesday night’s Premier League match against Wigan wearing T-shirts in support of the forward.

Bernard, now a campaigner for Show Racism the Red Card, told Sky Sports News: “I really didn't think it was fine to wear the T-shirt.

“I can understand the club's side of it, but in society we can't accept racism and give support to a player who has used racist words. I just think it is a bit wrong.

“It made it allowed for everybody to use racist words and it will be okay. It's not okay to use racist language and the message they sent out yesterday was a bit wrong.

“I don't mind them giving support to Mr Suarez, but I just think it's a bit wrong to wear the T-shirt because that means they have allowed racist language. I just don't understand it.”

Questioned as to how Liverpool should have reacted, Bernard said: “Probably accept it, accept that the player used a racist word. That would make everybody understand that Luis Suarez is not a racist person, but he did use a racist word and he should be punished. That should then be the end of it."

He added: “What the FA have done is make a real point that racism has no place in England and no place in football and no place in our society.

“I think they have made that clear and I'm pretty happy with their decision.”

The 32-year-old Frenchman made over 100 league appearances for Newcastle before retiring due to a hip injury, also playing for Darlington, Southampton and Rangers during his time in Britain.

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