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Luis Suarez has issues, now FIFA must address them quickly and with conviction

Jun 24, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

What struck me most about Luis Suarez‘ (UPDATE: Official.) chomp down on Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini was the Uruguayan’s immediate reaction — hands grasping at his bear-trap mouth, feigning pain, coupled with a subtle a look of dreaded realization.

The teeth grab felt like the predictable response of a man seeking to deflect guilt. The look of disbelief and misgiving, however, spoke of a man surprised by his own actions.

He will say otherwise. His team will say otherwise. Heck, all of Uruguay will say otherwise. But the director of the live production caught the moment perfectly. The proof was in the pudding and in Suarez’ case, the pudding was all over his face.

Simply stated, Luis Suarez is a biter. Why, exactly? It’s impossible to say without a psychiatric evaluation but when an adult bites three opponents in the last four years clearly that man is, at his very core, a biter. No clearer way to put it.

Admittedly, I, too, was once a biter. Of course, that was when I was two years old and my brother, three years my elder, would pick on me. ‘A defense mechanism’, my Mom would laugh years later when the topic would come up over the odd holiday dinner. ‘And a darn effective one,’ she’d note.

Damn skippy it was. But like most biters, I outgrew the move within a year or two before venturing on to other forms of self-defense like eye-poking, pinching and hair-pulling.

What can I say? I was a scrappy kid. But Suarez is a man, a man with responsibilities to himself, his family and his fans across the globe. Which is why this whole situation is so sad. The dude needs help.

Over my time as a student of the game I’ve read and listened to hundreds of hours of Suarez quotes – everything from pre-match sound to post-match pressers to interviews with that adorable Kop Kid, Finn, who interviews Liverpool players from time to time and, without fail, my reaction is always the same — Suarez comes off as an affable guy saddled with demons that he’s legitimately struggling to shed.

Today, he failed to do so and now it’s up to FIFA to impose a penalty on the striker that will work. A seven-match ban at Ajax in 2010 didn’t work. A 10-match ban at Liverpool in 2013 didn’t work. Here, FIFA needs to act quickly and with conviction.

The letter of the law allows for up to 24 matches but for me 15 matches, a fine of somewhere around $500k and, most importantly, an extensive treatment program should just about do it. It’s hard time one of, if not the best pure striker in the game gets the proper help he requires.

  1. Comrade23 - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    No fines, please. Suarez will be hurt enough by missing matches (although I think 15 matches is far too lenient), and there’s no need for hundreds of thousands of dollars to wind up in FIFA’s billion dollar “reserve funds.”

  2. arrogantnation - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    Ban him for life.

  3. chunkala - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:34 AM

    Explain the potential matches ban to me; 15-24 games, does that mean only international or club as well? Does that mean Uruguay can setup 24 ridiculous friendlies over a month period to extinguish his ban expeditiously?

    • chiadam - Jun 25, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      The ban would be for international matches. FIFA cannot ban him from club play, but Liverpool can – and should – match whatever ban FIFA administers.

  4. mazblast - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:06 AM

    Would the ban apply to international matches (friendly and otherwise), or to all games? I can see FIFA, in its infinite madness, making him sit out PL games, penalizing his Premier League side for something he did while not playing for them. I’ll bet there are some PL franchises that would like that.

  5. ravenswhat - Jun 25, 2014 at 7:08 AM

    How can anyone defend a grown man who has now done this for a THIRD time. He should be banned for life IMO. You’re a GROWN MAN.

  6. ludacrish05 - Jun 25, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    3 strikes, you’re out

    • doknyc - Jun 25, 2014 at 7:39 AM

      shouldnt that be, “three bites, youre out?

  7. nokoolaidcowboy - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    This guy needs therapy. Many, many years of therapy.

  8. boroteesside - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    This is FIFA, so don’t be surprised if the punishment isn’t as harsh as many think it should be, and is simply brushed off as yet another campaign led by the English media! My gut feeling is a four match ban, which would mean Suarez missing all remaining rounds of the World Cup – tho Uruguay are very unlikely to progress past the next round.

  9. some1kj - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    There is no place for head butting and biting in this game. FIFA need to stamp this kind of behavior out of this game in no uncertain terms. Refereeing in this World Cup leaves a lot to be desired. Players who drop to the ground at the slightest of body contact and roll around in seeming agony only to get up and run around like nothing happened once they get the decision going their way is disgraceful and need to stop. The Uruguay-Italy game stop-go action was a good example of an ugly game to watch.

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