Luis Suarez has faced widespread boos throughout all three of Uruguay's disappointing games at the Olympics. His first match was at Old Trafford and Manchester United fans were the subject of some criticism for giving him grief, it was assumed by many that the reaction to Suarez was merely partisan and related to the Patrice Evra incident.
But following the boos at Wembley and in Cardiff, there seems to be more to it than that and Luis Suarez has hit back at the situation. Speaking after yesterday's game, he's quoted by The Independent as saying:
I think they jeer me and they boo me here because they must be scared of facing a player like me. They fear me, but that doesn't affect me. I'm hurt because we lost and we are going home. We all had a dream and that was to win the gold medal here.
I can take the abuse. I don't mind. But I think it was a total lack of respect from the crowd to boo when we were trying to sing our national anthem. I think those things should not happen.
Suarez has a point regarding the national anthem, it's crass at best to jeer when a team is singing their anthem and though people will say it was a reaction to Suarez appearing on the big screen, it's not really any valid excuse and those who wanted to boo Suarez could have waited a few short minutes to do so.
But his reasoning that he's only booed because fans fear him is delusional and if we're fair that's something that isn't out of the ordinary for Suarez. He's booed because people don't like him and the reasons people don't like him aren't that controversial.
This isn't a hatred levelled at a man because he dared to report what he felt was racism, this is something which has built up over time and something which Suarez keeps re-fueling just in case it dies down.
It's not just an English thing either, Suarez had problems with referees and authority even with his first club in Holland, Groningen. When substituted once he gave his coach such a mouthful that he threw an umbrella at him but Suarez played so well in the next game that all was forgiven, a familiar tussle between talent and temper.
Even before he moved to Ajax he'd become a target for opposing fans because of the way he dived and argued for decisions. Eric Nevland, a team mate at the time, was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying "He got a lot of stick for the way he went down and winning free-kicks and penalties but that is his type of play."
Boos are not anything new for Suarez and this was before any of his most high profile football crimes. He got a move to Ajax and his talent flourished, during the World Cup in South Africa came an incident which would bring him to a much wider audience than his football in Holland had.
Ghana had become everyone's second team and right at the end of the World Cup quarter final he prevented them becoming the first African team to reach the last four of a World Cup with a goal stopping handball. Many footballers would have done the same and he accepted his red card and left the field, the subsequent penalty was missed and Uruguay progressed on penalties.
Whilst the actual action can be criticised, but also understood, it was his celebrations afterwards which drew the most criticism, he was paraded around the pitch on the shoulders of team mates and treated as a hero. He lapped it all up when it would have probably been wiser to sheepishly go to the dressing room and then lose yourself. But he clearly didn't care, and that irritated quite a few.
When back in Holland and playing for Ajax he was involved in an argument with opposition players after a referee decision and - losing all control - bit an opposing player. This brought widespread criticism and a lengthy ban, and it seemed that Suarez's will to win meant that he'd sometimes completely lose the plot. It had happened when he was much younger too, physically attacking a referee after he disagreed with a decision.
Then Suarez moved to England and before the Evra incident he got himself a name as a diver, something Liverpool fans fervently denied. He was given grief by opposing supporters and his appealing for decisions and reactions when he didn't get them was almost comical.
Of course the Evra incident and his subsequent ban have brought more hatred and boos but to dismiss it as purely because of that is folly, it happened in Holland. Fans get on his back for what happens in a game, the history doesn't help, but his actual actions do much more.
If you watch Suarez throughout a match when things aren't going his way, and sometimes even when they are, he gets incredibly wound up. Not just to the extent of other competitive players like Jamie Carragher or Gary Neville (we'll come back to him), he becomes consumed by it and fans see that and get on his back even more.
It's often apparent that he's not far from a complete hissy fit and spectators find that amusing and encourage it, much of the booing is in mockery at his frustration. He's an extremely talented player but there may not be anyone else who needs to win a game so much that it turns them into football's version of the Tasmanian Devil - he loses the plot.
At the game at Old Trafford last week I was pitch side and it was the closest I've been able to see his reactions, he was booed but it was mainly pantomime and when he looked like he was about to explode, the booing increased because people wanted to see him blow his top.
At one point he was so angry that his face looked like he'd been through a wind tunnel and he managed to do an almost full pirouette with fists clenched and both feet off the ground, the play was at the other end of the pitch but many in the crowd were watching Suarez combust and laughing and booing.
It may not be polite to laugh or boo when a player shows such frustration but that's football and is inevitable. It's also hilarious.
The complaints about the booing brought more coverage and those who had watched on TV probably saw how close he appeared to popping, so they go to the next match and boo, there's a feeling he's only so far away from doing something utterly mental again and he'll be provoked by football fans.
A Liverpool fan told me earlier that Suarez may be a bastard but he's their bastard and every club needs a bastard. There's a lot of truth in this, and the defence of him can be explained by that, even if sometimes it does appear to be beyond the boundaries of sense. But that defence will highlight the situation even more and fuel the boos.
It's not xenophobia, it's not due to a hatred of Liverpool, it's not because people are scared of him, fans boo Luis Suarez because they can't stand him. And Liverpool fans have their own history here, Gary Neville got so much abuse from their supporters that a book could be written on it.
He hated them, they hated him.
There was a song about him which went something like:
Gary Neville shags his mum, shags his mum, shags his mum, Gary Neville shags his mum, up the shitter.
There were several variations but that's the gist. This was because he was a Manchester United player who didn't like them and it happened well before his goal celebration in front of their fans. Neville hadn't been found guilty of a racism charge, he wasn't a diver, he didn't have a record of controversy in football, they just hated him and no great criticism was levelled at Liverpool for those chants - it was just considered to be football.
Much like David Beckham having to endure songs about his wife and anal sex in near enough every game he played in England after he started a relationship with her. Beckham was a national hero at one point and still got the grief - this isn't a xenophobic reaction to Suarez. A lot of those attending the GB games aren't regular match goers and don't know the partisan songs to wind players up, so they use boos instead.
Suarez is right to be miffed about his anthem being booed but he's wrong to think the reaction to him is through fear. He may be a lovely family man who helps old ladies cross the road and has a monthly direct debit set up to save the rain-forest, but on the pitch he's a contemptible little so and so, albeit a very talented one.
Liverpool fans are surely having a laugh when they try and turn Suarez into some kind of bullied foreign exchange student. This is football, and it's something they're pretty good at themselves.
This was penned by Annie Eaves, follow her on Twitter - @Annieeaves - and get irrationally upset when she says something you disagree with.
Why can't you all let it rest?
Does two wrongs make a right? Would driving Suarez out of the UK have any effect on racism in the UK?
But the fact shows that you now have two, no actually three problems.
1. Racism which no nation can remove unless you have a homogeneous population, even then you can't get rid of the unwritten social caste.
2.You have a growing population that does not even respect national anthems. I wonder would they boo John Terry should the national anthem be played during any matches as his face is flashed on the big screen?
3. You have in my humble opinion, an irresponsible news reporting that instead of bringing down the level of tension, hostility towards Suarez, you choose to fan the fire to sell your news. You may be right in saying Suarez said this, Suarez said that. Are you spotless?
What would it take for you to stop? Until Suarez gets hurt? Until his wife or daughter gets hurt?
What is the price that an individual have to pay after he has been sentenced? Has the media taken over the judiciary process or has it in itself become a vigilante like association of like minded people.
Vilify them till you choke the life out of them because in essence you have shown you are worse.
I come from a country in Asia; and you can say all you want about our politics, corruption and the likes, yet our culture teaches us "RESPECT your guest", "RESPECT your elders", "RESPECT the position even if you don't like the person", RESPECT every national anthem.
RESPECT YOUR OWN FA IMPLEMENTED PROCESS
Your very own home grown first youth organisation in the world, brought to us by the honuorable British soldiers,taught me, "Obedience, Respect, Discipline & all that tends towards a true Christian manliness"
Much have your great nation gain, yet sadly it has lost much more, its human soul. Truly sad!
Erm, it appears you actually haven't read any of what is written. Those booing the national anthem are criticised which you choose to ignore.
This also mentions Suarez and racism only briefly, and outlines the other reasons why he is booed. The lack of respect shown to the opposition, officials and the game. If you're so keen on respect then perhaps that's something you need to think about, Suarez has done this throughout his career.
Thank for pointing it out. I did take note on that, I had thought that the booing is the smaller issue, it was the factors that led to the incident that needs to be considered.
When we look at the issue with cause and effect in mind then when will it actually end? What if some twisted individuals decide on the extreme? Have the media thought of that? Or would it be a bigger story to write? I am all for the freedom of press yet we require responsible reporting.
As a LFC supporter, I do not agree with all of Suarez's actions yet many footballers are no different, it's just that they got away with it.
We need to pause, empathise with him, not necessarily codone his childish behaviour; but ask ourselves, how we would react in a similar situation as in his recent saga, and the relentless media coverage that followed. We as fellow human need to remember that we come from different cultures and environment and if we react in kind, there would be no end of conflict. Sometimes, we need to let it rest, let the anger diminish, letting cooler heads prevail.
Let us on this far flung part of the earth, as our people gain political maturity, still have a nation, society (that our forefathers had spoken no ill) that remain a model for us.
My views may not necessarily be correct, yet I guess, there are points that we can mutually agree to disagree. :)
most pathetic article ever....dont u pple get tired of writing about d guy.....why dont u grow ballz and write about ur racist fa who dont have guts to have charged terry until nw....they shud hav allowed suarez case go to court...but no they banned him....8gud matches...they waited until d end of season 2 charge terry...its dumb guys like you who poison minds of others about d guy...like greater players have not done worse dan him...am sure if suarez was playin 4 anoda teaam dis will not happen,,he gets boos from all d stadiums in england....like he is a criminal...i hope u biased british reporters all die soon..