Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Luis Suárez, On Chronic Biting: At Least I Never Bit Anyone's Ear Off!

Illustration for article titled Luis Suárez, On Chronic Biting: At Least I Never Bit Anyone's Ear Off!

You have to give it to Luis Suárez for at least one thing: the guy is not afraid to be honest, even if it makes him sound like a crazy man defending his own sanity. Judging from some excerpts in Sport from his new autobiography, the book is nowhere near the typical athlete's mid-career hagiography.


You should head over to Sport to read all their clips from Crossing the Line - My Story (it's in Spanish, but Google Translate is your friend). We'll just pull a few of the parts where he halfway defends the behavior that's gotten him into so much trouble.

The harsh punishment of four months without stepping in a sports arena and the nine official appearances for Uruguay left him in moral tatters, but thanks to the strength of his family, especially his wife Sophia, he faced the problem and arrived at the Catalan club. With the passage of time, "the absurdity of the suspension by FIFA became increasingly evident" and "we had to plan everything carefully before assuming the paparazzi or some fan would take a picture of me doing any activity remotely related football." FIFA placed him in an agonizing position and forced him to "sign a contract almost in secret to avoid becoming a public issue."

Later, Suárez reflects about the damage the bite and subsequent suspension did to his reputation—unfairly, in his mind:

Luis points out in the book that the sanction FIFA has set has given him a bad reputation that is not deserved. "People talk about me like I was a troublemaker, but talk to my teammates and try to find one who thinks this," he says, adding that "Barcelona knew they would have no problem with me in this regard." The Uruguayan is very grateful to the club for trusting him in full after the World Cup controversy and "if they had put in a bite clause [in his contract], I would have signed, of course, but there was no such lack of confidence in me."


Suárez does not hide that "I made a mistake. It was my fault. It was the third time I did this to myself and I needed help." However, he also understands that he has been made an example of and "maybe I was an easy target." The 'Pistolero' was particularly critical of the philosophy in English football, where "you can break someone's leg and not be punished." Luis explains that "a bite scares a lot of people, but it is relatively harmless, or at least the incidents in which I was involved were." The footballer spoke of an extreme case to make clear that "none of the bites were like Mike Tyson on Evander Holyfield, but nobody cares about that."

There's a lot here. Suárez is essentially saying "Hey guys, I know I've had a couple completely batshit insane moments, but I'm not really crazy, like, all the time." He does have a point, that the response to bites has much more to do with the weirdness of the act than any actual physical harm they result in, which places it in an interesting contrast to the bad, injurious tackles that aren't punished so severely. And all of his teammates do seem to genuinely like him, something you can't say about all superstar athletes with a tendency to grab headlines (see: Ronaldo, Cristiano and Balotelli, Mario.)

But dude: YOU'VE BITTEN PEOPLE. THREE. DIFFERENT. TIMES. There's not much sympathy to be won after doing that.