Footie news just in: US/Germany game to go on, chomper Suarez booted from World Cup

June 26, 2014 • 7:10 am

From my CNN alerts:

Heavy rains in Recife, Brazil, the location of today’s World Cup match between the U.S. and Germany, has caused extensive flooding, turning roads into rivers and making access to the stadium difficult.

FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, just announced that the U.S. game will be played as scheduled at noon ET.

FIFA also announced that Luis Suarez, Uruguay’s star striker, has been suspended for the rest of the World Cup tournament for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the game between the two soccer powers on Tuesday. He is suspended for a total of nine matches and is banned from any kind of soccer-related activity for four months.

I would have banned The Chomper for a year. Regardless of the cause of his biting, and despite my feeling that he could not have done otherwise, he needs severe punishment to deter others and to keep him from biting in the future. He also, of course, needs some kind of counseling or anger management therapy.

81 thoughts on “Footie news just in: US/Germany game to go on, chomper Suarez booted from World Cup

  1. Suarez is banned from the rest of the tournament, Uruguay plying without him… missing a single game is not much of a punishment.

    1. He has to miss the next nine competitive matches Uruguay play, and is also banned from any “football” related activity for 4 months. That means he will not be available to play for his club, Liverpool, until the end of October.

      It is a sufficiency punishment, but it is far more than having to miss a single game.

    2. There were rumours of a transfer to a Spanish club (Barcelona?). While Barcelona still seems interested, having Suárez just hanging around until he’s allowed to play again may be a bit of a bummer for them. But maybe not…

      Having him suspended for a year would have scared any interested parties off for a bit, I guess.

      1. The ban also includes all “administrative activity” related to football. Taken at face value that would suggest he would not be allowed to be transferred to another club until the end of the ban.

        I expect lawyers will be arguing about that one.

        1. Fifa have clarified what they mean by “administrative activity” and it does not mean any ban on a transfer. So Suarez could join another team, but you have to wonder if anyone would want him before the January transfer window.

    1. It is not like he is a ten year old. who you might expect might bite several times before getting the message.

      I would enforce counseling immediately and warn him that if he does it again he is out of professional soccer forever.

      1. Three times is several.

        And even a lifetime ban would be insufficient. Not being allowed to play a game? Where are the criminal charges?! If you bit someone just once wouldn’t you expect to be charged with assault or worse, depending on what happens to the bite?

        1. That is a good point. If, for example, FIFA decides it has rules for biting, how should those be enforced relative to local laws? On the whole, biting another human is probably against the law in most cases and, is therefore, a criminal act. FIFA should set up some simple guidelines for discipline, but the case should also be presented to local authorities to decide if further charges are needed. Of course, it is difficult as many players are not from the host country.

          This is very similar to rape cases presented at universities and who should decide how justice is served. See here:

          http://blog.talkingphilosophy.com/?p=7991

      2. I think he has been given enough warnings, and apparently they don’t work. He should be booted out for good. There are plenty of excellent players willing to take his place.

  2. I think Suarez does this when he’s under severe stress. I agree that he needs counseling.
    A year long suspension might be a bit much but I hope the 4 months start counting from the beginning of the football/soccer season in the UK. Otherwise his suspension will be over before the season has started. (he wouldn’t miss too many games)

    1. The season starts at the end of August. His ban starts with immediate effect, so it will be the end of October before he is allowed to play again. He will be missing a significant part of the season. Also, the nature of the ban indicates he will not be able to train with the Liverpool squad, so when it ends he will not have had proper preparation to rejoin the team.

      1. Supposedly he wants to play in Spain – but this could affect that and any price Real would want to pay assuming they are interested still…

        this is what happens when you lose control.

        1. If it has reduced his transfer value. Say from £60m to £40m. It could conceivably mean his new club can pay him more.

      2. You’re right. He will miss more games then I anticipated.
        I hope he will use these 4 months to find proper help.

    2. Liverpool fans have a wry sense of humour. I am looking forwarding to seeing what they will wear at Suárez’s first game of the season.

  3. I do agree Suarez needs some kind of counseling, but don’t you find a little too much and harsh to ban someone from doing his work for such a long term like one year? My opinion is that it would be enough to kick him out of this World Cup, and this is a pretty strong punishment. Let alone, he is (correctly) already being severely criticized in the press.
    Finally, there are reports highlighting Suarez troublesome upbringing (e.g., at the age of 16 he headbutted a referee).

    1. Of I bit someone at work, I’d lose my job altogether and probably receive a criminal assault charge so in perspective, no, it isn’t too harsh.

  4. This guy has obviously been reading too much Twilight. I blame Stephanie Meyer, and sentence her to a 400-year ban on writing-related activities.

  5. If he cannot control his behavior, then a ban is hardly the optimal solution. Instead why not require him to wear a muzzle to prevent him from physically completing the act when his brain compels him to uncontrollably bite.

  6. Wasn’t Azedine sanctioned for head-butting? I guess that sanction was effective,since Suarez didn’t head butt anyone.

    1. Funny you should mention headbutting.

      I just read an ESPN article that read almost like an attempt to whitewash Suarez’s behavior by painting him as a troubled soul, ie a hero with a tragic flaw. Part of the “wash” was calling into question allegations that he headbutted a referee when he was young. As if the headbutting allegations being false made the more recent biting incidents more acceptable.

      1. I didn’t think that article called into question the headbutt of the referee; I thought it confirmed it. It was a little unsettling, though, how the writer suddenly stops caring what ever happened to that referee and seems to sympathize completely with Suarez by the end.

  7. I don’t understand why people want to ban him for life. It is highly unprofessional to bite someone but biting is really one of the most harmless ways to foul on someone as it has almost zero risk of permanent injury. Rough tackles, kicks to various body parts, elbows to the face, and blows to the head are worse. For example, apparently in 1994 Mauro Tassotti was suspended 8 games for breaking someone’s nose. Compared to that, this punishment is quite severe.

    1. Biting is unacceptable in any sport.

      Do you know what they do to dogs when they bite several people? They put them down.

        1. Do you really suppose that there is any chance whatsoever that he was implying, let alone saying, that The Chomper should be killed? You find no other, much more reasonable, way to interpret what he wrote based on history, context, etc.?

          1. I was trying to make the point that his mentioning of euthanizing dogs that bite people was ridiculous and irrelevant. What was his point anyway? Other commenters below agree with me.

            1. And your response was not ridiculous and irrelevant? Actually, I am sure that to some it isn’t. The point is that to some others, it is.

              As to what he may have meant you could get some other ideas by reviewing the other comments below that don’t agree with you.

              1. My response was directly relevant to his comment. I don’t know how you could have missed that; you seemed to appreciate it when you asked me if I really thought that’s what he meant. Anyway, this is going nowhere. I give up.

    2. Human bites are very dangerous can can lead to life threatening infections. So, not harmless.

      I think Jerry’s proposal of a 1 year ban strikes the right cord. They guy has to stop doing this or leave soccer.

      I’d agree that should apply to deliberately breaking people’s noses, too.

    3. I agree that biting is unacceptable but why rough tackles that can disable a player for life seem more acceptable?

      Also, the comparison to dogs is ridiculous. You’re just making outrageous and pointless statements.

      1. I never said rough tackles that can disable a player for life seem more acceptable. No tackles are acceptable in soccer. At least American football players have helmets and padding and people still get seriously hurt.

        1. I don’t think you mean no tackles are acceptable in soccer. They are after all part of the game.

            1. Plus tackles that do injure players are overwhelming not the result of malicious intent. They are often not even the result of carelessness but rather just bad luck.

              1. Indeed. I had both lower leg bones broke, one a clean break the other split in half, and the growth plate between my foot and leg broken into 4 or 5 pieces during a perfectly legal, and non maliscious, tackle.

                A family joke came out of this very painful episode. My mother is a cleanliness fanatic. So much so that in the midst of her anxiety, as several people were loading me into the back of our stationwagon for the trip to the hospital, my mother couldn’t help but admonish me to try and not get any blood on the carpet. We still tease her about that on occasion.

      2. “Also, the comparison to dogs is ridiculous. You’re just making outrageous and pointless statements.”

        The comparison to dogs is potentially inflammatory, but it is true in the sense that Dogs that bite people are considered dangerous. If Suarez is as out of control as a dog who bites he needs to be out of soccer.

      3. They aren’t more acceptable.

        My question is why are people drawn to violent sports at all? I’ll never understand why some people like to watch other people injure yet other people.

        1. Indeed!

          I’m so glad baseball has the “neighborhood” play, and now an effort to stop collisions at home plate.

          Hockey’s gotten too violent to watch anymore..

      4. Tackles are part of the game. There are rules for what is a legal tackle and what is not. A person can honestly have attempted a legal tackle that ends up being illegal and even causing injury. Tackles that are not legal should be penalized, and tackles that are obviously intended only to cause physical damage should be punished commensurate with the circumstances. If the tackle is apparently nothing but an assault with intent to harm then it should be treated similar to any type of assault, for example biting.

        In general, tackling is not at all like biting or punching someone in the nose. Those are assualts, not any part of the game under any circumstances.

    4. Football is a contact sport. Rough tackles and kicks are an accepted part of the game. Yes, they can be damaging but bad examples are usually driven by extreme competetiveness rather than a deliberate attempt to cause injury. Even elbowing, while a foul, is a natural by-product of the jostling that takes place when players are competing to win the ball on the ground or in the air.

      Biting, on the other hand, has no conceivable place in the game and can only indicate a complete loss of personal control and a psychological problem of some kind. Biting someone’s shoulder isn’t likely to do any serious damage, but next time it might be an earlobe that gets chomped.

      It’s a shame. Suarez is a brilliant player, but I see no way that this behavious can be tolerated.

      1. Good point. Injuries, and career threatening injuries, do occur in soccer as the result of a bad tackle, flying elbow and so on. The overwhelming majority of them are not the result of any malice. It does not even have to be a foul that can result in a injury. Sometimes injuries happen that cannot be blamed on the actions of a player.

    5. Somebody compared it to punching in a previous thread.

      There are unwritten rules to fighting among humans and indeed animals generally. Tackling and kicking is normal in soccer and the line between legitimate and illegitimate is blurry. Punching is normal behavior in non-lethal brawling.

      But when somebody starts biting, he signals that he is unhinged and potentially capable of everything. Who knows, what he will do the next time? Bite somebodies nose off? Stick a finger in somebodies eye?

      P.S.: I couldn’t find a good article on Wikipedia about fighting among humans and animals from an anthropological or zoological perspective. There’s articles about various martial arts, war, dog fighting, etc., but nothing more general. Has anybody any pointers? Is there a more scientific, technical term for “fighting” I should search with?

    6. Tassoti’s elbow was not the third incident he was being punished for and at the time 8 matches was unprecedented. Also, just because something else should be punished severely but might not have been doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to get other incidents right.

      We also place those two violations in different categories so it’s very difficult to compare a biting incident with violent conduct like kicking or punching.

      Zero risk of permanent injury is not part of the evaluation here.

  8. I feel sorry for his club team, Liverpool who will have to manage without him at the start of the season for a second year running but I don’t feel sorry for him. This is his 3rd offence, he hasn’t learnt, ban him for life.

    1. Yes, three tries seems like plenty. If offends again, for dead certain, he should be banned for life (given they didn’t do it this time.)

    1. oops… didn’t see your post before I posted mine, Al. I was thinking the same thing. It could be a discreetly fashioned custom-made prosthetic. The guy’s got some issues that therapy hasn’t been able to resolve just yet.

    1. Crimony! First sentence: I’ve held off on writing about soccer for a decade — … — so as not to offend anyone.

      Srsly?? You’ll go after the Flight 93 widows but when it comes to some random football fan… ?

      Hilarious that they’re using a 12y/o pic, too.

      1. What do you expect from Ann Coulter?

        I laughed most at the reason: “It’s foreign!” And then she compared it to the metric system, more LOLz…

  9. Anti-social behavior if committed by what is termed an emotionally calloused person, is best handled by rewarding rather than punishment as shown recently by some very courageous research. In this case, the chomper would be rewarded with some kind of recommendation/accolade if he refrains from biting when playing. Punishment has been shown to increase their acting out. Identifying that a person is this kind is no easy trick. Deterrent/punishment do work on folks who can feel shame and have a conscience.

    1. It is difficult to see what kind of reward Suarez could be offered. He is a highly paid professional footballer playing for one of the best teams in one of the best leagues in the world. He is also a key player for his national team.

      His club team seem to have been getting him to behave better though. His disciplinary record in previous seasons has been poor, but last season he was really quite well behaved.

  10. “FIFA also announced that Luis Suarez, Uruguay’s star striker, has been suspended for the rest of the World Cup tournament for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini”

    This was all due to a misunderstanding. Suarez simply mis-heard a name. He thought the Italian guy was Al Dente.
    😉

  11. I think I’ve scanned all responses closely enough so that I’m not repeating something that has already been posted. There is an article, “What’s Eating Luis Suarez; the psychology of biting,” published first in Slate and then New Scientist (Health)that I found interesting (Yeah, I know that interesting means many things! but it was.).

    I don’t see much soccer nor do I know anything about the teams at the World Cup. However, when I watch I’m overwhelmed at times with how easy players this good make it seem. It is downright graceful At other times, I realize how much effort is required, especially, the few times when I’ve seen clips of them in practice and also when they are in the thick of the game.

  12. Nine matches for a bite in football, 20 games in ice-hockey for a hit causing “three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a grade three concussion, vertebral ligament damage, stretching of the brachial plexus nerves, and facial lacerations”. All relative I suppose.

    Mind you one Uruguayan fan’s reported comment that “The immorality and hypocrisy of FIFA has no limits” if generalised might gain some support

  13. I would have banned him for life. Biting is something kids do, not adults. But soccer is a kids’ game.

  14. The Brazilian attacker Fred thinks Suárez’s punishment was much too severe. I agree. The hysterical response of some commenters suggests that serious issues revolving around sin and punishment reside off the pitch, even among atheists.

    1. So that I can demonstrate how ridiculous it is to describe any of the comments here as “hysterical” please identify at least one such comment. I am pretty sure that you don’t mean it literally though. Just a standard rhetorical tactic to denigrate the people you are disagreeing with. How quaint. Oh look, I did it too.

  15. It’s interesting to consider why a bite should be seen as so much worse than any of the other injuries more or less routinely inflicted by footballers upon each other. David Runciman makes some good points about this in his LRB blog post: http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2014/06/25/david-runciman/the-bite/
    And though I’m with Nietzsche – “distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful” – Suárez just seems… well, not evil by any measure, but just nasty in a particularly childish way.

  16. ‘…he needs severe punishment to deter others and to keep him from biting in the future…’ I am sorry but I find this assertion worrying. First of all, he has been punished, and he has been punished before, not un-severely, for similar behaviour. Could a sufficiently severe punishment that would both deter others (what others?, by the way, for hown many other players bite people) and lead to Suarez becoming a reformed character be specified? What would one recommend? When similarly condign punishment was called for in the case of some Harvard scientist (I think it was Harvard) who falsified data, I remember asking myself what purpose it would serve, since clearly the man had destroyed the trust that a scientist needs in order to work well and would find himself pretty well shut out of the scientific community. I don’t think punishment is any more attractive a thing when it is advocated for reasons that are supposed to be for the good of the recipent (and others it is supposed to deter) than it is when it is done out of simple retribution. And at least retribution feels rather more honest…, rather more of a genuine human exchange. I have seldom hated anyone more than a certain master at my school who, not content with simply punishing you, would sit you down before the beating and persistently ask questions like ‘You do understand, Harris, why I have to beat you, don’t you?’ And then, having beaten, you, he would sit you down again and the inquisition would start up again: ‘You do understand, Harris, why I had to beat you, don’t you? You do understand what you did?’ Punishment is necessarily humiliation, and feeling righteous about punishing someone can be a mask for a desire to humiliate. And – I have said this before in connexion with the assertion that everything we do is determined – if deterrence is supposed to be a function of punishment, then what logical reason is there for not making punishments as extreme as possible the better to deter?

    1. He should be booted so that the other players aren’t at risk from being bitten by him. I can’t think of a single good reason in favor of keeping him that outweighs the considerations of all the other players. Call it a punishment for him, call it protecting everyone else.

      The same applies to any other form of assault with intent to harm whether it be punching, choking, head butting, a blatantly illegal tackle, whatever.

    2. Yes, I am happy that he should be ‘booted’ out so that other players are not hurt. That strikes me as a sensible approach, and has nothing to do with ‘punishment’, which was the point at issue. I was asking, what is the nature of the punishment that should be visited on him so that in future he would refrain from biting other players, and so that other players who might otherwise indulge in biting themselves might be deterred? And I might add to that the question of who are going to be the imperturbable and all-knowing guardians (see The Republic) who will weigh offences and circumstances, and devise and mete out condign punishments that lead ineluctably to the offender’s reformation and to possible offenders being deterred from perpetrating the same offence. I suggest a reading of the novel ‘Davies’ by the very good British poet David Constantine, a novel that is based on the life of someone who actually existed: ‘Davies was famous for a moment in 1911 when Churchill raised his case in Parliament. In this fictionalised account of a lifelong criminal, Constantine unravels the mystery of a loner caught in a vicious circle of self-perpetuating crime.’ The novel is filled with well-meaning people who found themselves at a loss and so proposed all sorts of ineffective ways of ‘dealing with’ such as Davies.

      1. There is a word ‘incorrigible’ – that sentence was supposed to in the above remarks before I started talking about Constantined’s novel, which I highly recommend to those who think these issues are easy.

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