More than anything, though, Luis Suarez retains the capacity to shock. Even when he has bitten two other players, it is astonishing that a repeat offender should assault — and it was an assault — an opponent in the World Cup.
Suarez being Suarez, he got away with it at first. He wasn’t sent off for biting Otman Bakkal or Branislav Ivanovic either. And he wasn’t dismissed for taking a mouthful of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini. (By the by, there is something sad when a referee does not believe a player showing teeth marks in his shoulder — how else did he think Chiellini sustained them?)
But in a world of umpteen camera angles, he cannot escape justice for long. He has already incurred seven- and 10-match suspensions for biting. His latest ban should be longer, because it is evident he has not been rehabilitated. He does not seem to have felt any remorse.
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At the very least, his World Cup will be over. It would be justice for Suarez, too, if Uruguay plays in the next round, minus its best player. Actions ought to have repercussions and, all too often, his have been disgraceful.
A Suarez storm occurs on an annual basis. In the 2010-11 season, he bit Bakkal. In 2011-12, he racially abused Patrice Evra. In 2012-13, he tasted Ivanovic. When he was voted PFA Player of the Year and Footballer of the Year for the 2013-14 season, it prompted suggestions that he had achieved redemption.
They were nonsensical. Suarez is a very fine player who had an outstanding year, but soccer excellence cannot compensate for everything else. We were told, too, that he was a changed man. As his 2013-14 campaign surely concludes in a further scandal, it is with proof that he is not.
Suarez certainly hasn’t been helped by the apologists who blame anyone else for his every misdemeanor. Excuses have been made for his misconduct. They cannot be anymore, even by those whose love of his talent and desire for his prolific scoring to continue have caused them to mislay their moral compass.
If FIFA is to have any credibility, it has to issue a severe suspension. It could carry on far into the next year of international soccer. It might even entail a ban from all soccer, impacting his club career. His latest misdemeanor did not occur in Liverpool’s colors, but the club has indulged him too often. Judging from coach Oscar Tabarez’s post-match comments, so has Uruguay.
Suarez's actions are made all the worse as, on each occasion, there is scant evidence of any provocation. His cannibalistic response cannot be compared to a headbutt, a punch or a reckless tackle. It is far worse.
He needs to come to terms with what he has done. There was a slight acknowledgement at the end, as he looked almost mournful despite Uruguay’s qualification for the last 16. He was pictured holding his teeth in the final few minutes, a sign of the pain he had caused himself.
In other circumstances, it would have been vaguely comical. Here it was the sign of the most shameful moment of this World Cup.