Luis Suárez: Biting the Hand That Feeds Him
In my favorite piece of news this week, it was revealed that Luis Suárez’s new contract with Barcelona does not have a “no biting” clause–essentially a clause that would protect Barcelona if Suárez, errr, didn’t stick to a strict diet of futbol. Which, of course, he won’t. Luis Suárez bites (no pun intended). He’s a biter. He’s already gnawed on three people (and that was just on the soccer field, gnuk gnuk gnuk).
Put it this way: He’s not going to not bite someone again, given the opportunity.
We know this by now. So let’s examine the possible reasons why he’s biting. I’m 80% certain he’s not teething–apparently that only lasts about two-and-a-half years, and only occurs in toddlers. If you put a gun to my head, I’d go as high as 85% certain. So that’s probably not it. Here’s why it’s probably not fueled by hunger: He’s not getting sizable chunks of anyone. So I’m like 75% sure that’s not it. Of course, there’s still that 25% chance it is because he’s hungry, and the main evidence is this: His teeth certainly look like Dracula’s. What can you say? He’s a conundrum.
In more ways than one, Luis Suárez is new territory. There’s not just the question of why he’s doing it; there’s also the question of what to do about it. FIFA and the other governing bodies in sport love using precedent to make their decisions. It keeps them safe, and makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside. But Suárez is the sports world’s first serial biter. Honestly, I haven’t researched it that much – he may even be the world’s first biter, period. So FIFA has to deal with this question: What do you do with someone who just…won’t…stop?
This time, after his third offense, they’re upping the ante, giving him a four-month ban from soccer. Not surpassingly, Barcelona is appealing the ban. And they just might get it reduced. After all, if you’re FIFA, you can’t deny that biting is sort of a grey area. It’s not punching. It’s not starting a fight. It’s not intentionally using your hands to deflect a ball. And it’s not being racially abusive. Oh, whoops, Suárez has done those things. Wait, remind me why his suspension isn’t longer?
Even after reading this, perhaps the most comprehensive, intelligent, and – is it possible? – sympathetic feature I’ve read about Suárez, it’s tough to give the guy a pass. The evidence is too overwhelming. That, and the feature was written before Bite-Gate this past June, his third time feeding in public.
It’s one of the more amusing questions to consider in sports: Where will FIFA draw the line and kick him out of soccer for good? How many bites is too many?