Luis Suarez bites again, the third time no less and Fifa have thrown the book at him. Fair, say some, harsh, say others.
Whichever your disposition, it's safe to say that the act must be so abstract from how we expect a 27 year old footballer to behave that it can prompt world wide debate and conspiracy theories. Amidst the conjecture, Suarez has been likened to both dog and toddler in his inability to cognate his anger and frustration properly. Some have called for psychiatric help, with this uncontainable urge so feral, so acutely aggressive, that he may well be a danger to others. Perhaps it taps into some primal fear of the great predator that lurks out of sight, Jaws impersonating a Uruguayan. Maybe the thought of this un-relatable trait flicks on a stuttering light in the dark corridors of our minds that we instinctually are repulsed by, to taste our own flesh, Vampirism? Cannibalism? Will he have to wear a Hannibal Lecter mask after his next attack?
The footballing world is a complex one, where morals, rules and common belief are thrown into the hot pot of debate and must leave our exalted footballer's in a bizarre volatile state. Cheered one week, jeered the next. Questions are raised daily about behaviour and etiquette, but few find categorical answer.
Two footed lunges are dangerous, more dangerous than a bite you'd argue, but how many times are they contested as nothing more than an overly zealous attempt to play the ball? Do we really know what's going on in the footballer's mind when he sees the ball skid away from his feet towards the oncoming player that's been on top of him for the best part of the game? How often is a wayward elbow simply just an unfortunate collision between two players tussling for aerial supremacy? How many seconds does a player need to be caught staring venomously at the soon to be clattered opponent before we categorise it as intentional? Diving is totally wrong, but if even the slightest of contact has been made in the penalty area, it is vindicated and rewarded as appropriate acknowledgement of the fine details of the rules. Yet the same would not be applied to a similar coming together outside of the area. How many times do players lock heads like mountain goats, only for one to drop theatrically, then the other, clutching their faces? Eye's peeping between fingers to assess which act has won the Oscar on this occasion. Has anyone considered the ramifications of giving an 18-year-old, a six figure weekly salary? Why have great swathes of people apathetically shrugged their shoulders at decisions made by a governing body that is ruled by a man who re-elects himself to the most influential position in football for so long?
These are the norms now; questions can be lost within the bureaucracy of the game, awash in the technicalities and finer details. All of the above occur in plain sight, but that doesn't matter, they can be explained out of and are usually committed on such a mass scale that impugning one would be to cut the weed off at its stem. Statements are issued, apologies are heartfelt. The game moves on.
So the main issue then, is that biting is so bafflingly blatant, so far removed from the comprehensible vagaries of football, that this four month veto is really a punishment for outrageous stupidity. It's the third time!
It contradicts any sort of warped principle we have established in the game, permeated by Fifa themselves of course. If you're going to do something really dumb or contentious, do it under the table, via undisclosed bank accounts or on the sly. If you want to get at a player, do it with a late elbow or studs up challenge. Suarez and Chiellini's feigning of injury, and the Uruguayan manager, captain and FA's blunt dismissal of the event even occurring is more in line with the status quo.
World Cups are here to uphold what the game is, not for left-field, new wave, unfettered animalistic expressions. Especially when the eyes of sun burnt corporates are looking on too.
Maybe Suarez is the first to break new ground, if biting catches on like the method acting cult, it could be a new genre of moral obscurity only football could facilitate.
Maybe in a moment of clarity, he would have back tracked all the way and issued an unprompted statement of regret and sorrow. The usual would have probably sufficed. Sorry to the fans, sorry to his team mates, sorry to his country, sorry for influencing the children that will now have to be muzzled on the playground.
Instead, one of this generation's best examples of how to play the beautiful game, a player who has duly reaped the rewards of his talent, has been burnt for not playing the game.
Quid pro quo, Luis, quid pro quo.Suggest a correction