This is not a post defending Luis Suarez. I’m not delusional, insane or have a blurred perception of reality. This is instead a post applauding Suarez for what he is: the greatest villain in sports.
There have been endless players in sports that have been resoundingly hated. John Rocker and Sean Avery are the first two guys off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are plenty of others. Most of the time when a player is so widely hated he isn’t one of the best players in his sport, but Suarez is.
Suarez manages to be as amazing at soccer as he is at being hated. He was the leading scorer in the Premier League this season. He led Liverpool back to the top four. He has been one of the most electrifying players to watch in the Premier League since he was brought in by Liverpool in 2011. Suarez is a fantastic player and one of the best strikers in the world right now.
Suarez also has bit three people, possibly used a racial slur, dove numerous times and committed a handball that knocked Ghana out of the first ever African World Cup. Diving isn’t something that’s unique to Suarez. Using a racial slur on the pitch, unfortunately, also isn’t something unique to Suarez.
Biting someone once is ridiculous. To bite someone a second time and a third time leaves me without an adjective. I’m not even sure to write about because it’s just so baffling that someone would do that. Each bite has had more people watching than the prior one. The first one had a mainly Dutch audience. The second one had a pretty sizable audience given the support of Chelsea and Liverpool. His most recent one had a global audience. People who normally never watch soccer saw Suarez’s bite on Chiellini because it’s the World Cup.
There was absolutely no reason for him to bite someone in any of this instances. No matter what someone does or says on the pitch the response shouldn’t be biting someone. Players in all sports have punched or spat on someone. But biting someone just seems infinitely more bizarre, unnecessary and disgusting. What goes through someone’s head to bite someone where you will be clearly seen by everyone?
Suarez’s actions can be described, among other things, as appalling, disgraceful and embarrassing. But Suarez is also the best striker in the Premier League right now and an incredibly talented and gifted player. Everyone who doesn’t support Liverpool or has Uruguayan roots for him to fail and every turn. But most of the time, he doesn’t. He succeeds in often spectacular fashion. Suarez, unlike many other villains both real and fictional, succeeds more often than he fails.
Even if you hate Luis Suarez, you should still appreciate him for what he is: the greatest villain in sports.