If I were to rob the most heavily guarded bank in Switzerland, I wouldn’t pick Luis Suarez to be on my team. He has the courage, but he would spoil the plan, bite the tellers, thrash around on the floor and throw our operation into disarray. Sinking his teeth into an Italian defender, Suarez was slapped with a four-month ban, starting from the match between his Uruguay and Colombia. He’s forbidden even from entering the football stadium. It’s a provisional excommunication, a Fifa coup de grace.
This is the third time Suarez has bitten an opponent; the striker has earned the label of serial biter. He clearly broke the rules, for football is played with feet, not teeth, and while there is petulant behaviour on the pitch everywhere, his unprovoked chomping on the walking pasta goes beyond gamesmanship into malice. Had he done it on a street, he could be charged with physical assault. In short, what he did was hard to defend in a world watched by a thousand cameras, and yet there are people who staunchly defend him. The whole saga, they say, is “a conspiracy”. There’s talk of “photoshopped evidence”, and of European powerhouses’ witch hunt against one of the world’s top players. Even Uruguay’s president argued in defence of him, in somewhat convoluted logic. In Suarez’s home country, that seems to be the narrative: The world, especially the rich and the powerful part, has conspired against Uruguay.
Luckily, I still haven’t seen a campaign from Uruguay to ban EU products or stop travelling to Switzerland, home of Fifa. I could imagine the headline “Support Suarez, Boycott the World” — just like some of us here calling for a boycott of European goods after it meted out (a mild) punishment against our junta. I could imagine the catalogue of excuses: What the man did was madness, but justified madness. The world doesn’t understand our culture, because we’re unique. What he did wasn’t a coup, just a temporary measure to ensure victory. To break the rules — or what’s agreed upon as an international rule — is an internal affair foreign nations shouldn’t stick their ugly noses in. Fifa (or the UN or the EU) isn’t our father, as someone infamously said before he was red-carded.