An article from Max Bloggs. You can reach out to him on Twitter at @derRetter
Before continuing with this posting Iâ€™d like to explain my motivations for still covering the issue that just wonâ€™t die. I like most of other Liverpool fans am battle weary. I just want the Suarez-Evra issue to go away. But it hasnâ€™t yet and it wonâ€™t anytime soon. As long as the media continue to misrepresent the facts, then Iâ€”and hopefully other bloggersâ€”will continue to fill in the gaps.
On 13 February, I entered into a discussion with the chief football writer for a large national tabloid after I saw him inaccurately explaining the term â€œnegroâ€. Seeing this as a blatant misrepresentation of fact, I questioned his journalistic integrity.
Referring to the term â€œnegroâ€ he asserted that the experts found â€œthat it WAS perjorative (sic). And that didnâ€™t accept assertion to [the] contrary.â€ He claimed that the expertsâ€™ conclusion backed Evra and not Suarez.
I donâ€™t consider myself to be naÃ¯veâ€”as I have seen what journalists are capable ofâ€”but I was honestly shocked at reading his tweets as it revealed one of two things: (1) either he was openly lying to defend his stance on the Suarez-Evra issue; (2) that inadvertently admitting that he had not clearly grasped the nature of the expertsâ€™ evidence in the 115-page FA report.
At this point I tweeted him paragraphs 190 and 194 of the FA report which clearly state that the experts concluded that if Suarezâ€™ version of events were true, then his use of the term â€œnegroâ€ would not have been â€˜offensive or offensive in racial terms.â€™
After a 10 minute pause in our Twitter activity (Iâ€™m assuming the reporter in question has now opened up the FA report) he refers me to paragraph 179, which clarifies that had Suarez said â€œporque tu eres negroâ€, that would have been offensive.
Now what surprised me here was that he again showed that he didnâ€™t understand the nature of the expertsâ€™ evidence. He cited paragraph 179 with the belief that it somehow defended his assertion that the experts had backed Evra over Suarez.
But it didnâ€™t.
I never suggested that the experts found against Evra. As has been well documented in the mainstream media, the experts also found that in Evraâ€™s version of events (if true) the use of â€œnegroâ€ would have been offensive. My point wasâ€”and always has beenâ€”that the experts also agreed that in Suarez account (if true) the use of â€œnegroâ€ would not have been construed as racist.
He then dismisses these inconvenient truths, stating that â€œ[w]e can all find reasons to back our positions.â€ I argued that therein lies the problem: the mainstream media have been defending their positions by selectively and inaccurately citing the 115-page FA report since its release.
I now find myself asking why our mainstream media even have â€œpositionsâ€ that need to be defended.
I then drew the reporterâ€™s attention to his previous quote that â€œnegroâ€ â€œWAS perjorative (sic). And that didnâ€™t accept assertion to [the] contrary.â€ He accepted that he was wrong, having recognised that the expertsâ€™ conclusions that the use of the term as described by Suarez would not have been construed as racist.
However, he still rejected the idea that the experts â€œbackedâ€ Suarez. I donâ€™t disagree with this point because the expertsâ€”at least not publiclyâ€”didnâ€™t back either Suarez or Evra. They simply passed judgment on whether the term â€œnegroâ€ was offensive. In doing so they considered both Suarezâ€™ and Evraâ€™s version of events as if both accounts were true and made their judgments accordingly. It was the FA who backed Evra over Suarez, which is clear from paragraph 199 onwards.
Again, this point was accepted by the reporter in question.
Now the fact the a reporter has either been selectively or unknowingly misreporting the FAâ€™s findings may not be anything new to those Liverpool fans who have read the report.
But these points have been the basis of many fansâ€™ support of Luis Suarez. The idea that he can be found guilty without any video evidence, audio evidence or statements from witnesses of the alleged event smacks of a â€˜show trialâ€™. Furthermore, the experts found that had Suarez used the term â€˜negroâ€™ in the context he claims, it would not have been racially offensive. These are pretty solid reasons to stand behind our player.
There is of course the possibility that Suarez could be guilty. Just as there is the possibility that Schmeichel was guilty of racially abusing Ian Wright all those years ago.
But there is NO evidence to prove these claims or refute these claims. We are ultimately left with one manâ€™s word against anotherâ€™s.
Yet the media have continually ignored these facts, and have even gone on to misreport and manipulate the truth. Without presenting the actual Liverpool FC standpoint on this, they have labelled us â€œtribalâ€ and â€œblindly faithfulâ€ and accused us of undermining the anti-racism movement in this country.
The press, anti-racist spokespeople and opposing fans demand that we sacrifice Luis Suarez and our own convictions for the good of society, without taking into consideration our misgivings of the decision.
It is clear for many that since the release of the FAâ€™s report, Liverpool FC, Liverpool fans and Luis Suarez have been subjected to what can only be described as a smear campaign, based on half-truths, non-truths and just plain nonsense.
By Max Bloggs
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