Thursday kickoff: Suarez issues partial apology, Balotelli out of derby and more

Suarez getty

For the first time since his racial rowe with Patrice Evra caused a firestorm in England, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has issued an apology.

Well, sort of.

Suarez apologized to anyone who might have been offended by the use of the word "negro" but did not go as so far as to apologize directly to Evra.

"I never, ever used this word in a derogatory way and if it offends anyone then I want to apologize for that," Suarez said in a statement released by the club.

The Uruguayan international continued to maintain that he did not appreciate the racially-charged meaning of the word and denied the FA's findings that he used it repeatedly to abuse Evra. Liverpool FC have decided not to appeal the eight-match ban and the $62,000 fine although Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish continues to make his disagreements with the punishment known.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday rolling.

BALOTELLI OUT OF MANCHESTER DERBY

If Manchester City are going to continue to make life miserable for their United counterparts, they'll have to do it without striker Mario Balotelli.

The always-entertaining Italian international is set to miss this weekend's FA Cup tie between the two clubs due to an ankle injury. Balotelli has missed City's last two league games against Sunderland and Liverpool. Roberto Mancini will also be without Yaya and Kolo Toure as they will be with the Ivory Coast getting ready for the African Cup of Nations.

SNEIJDER 90% CERTAIN OF STAYING AT INTER

Despite a renewed interest from Manchester United, Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder is not expecting a move during the January Transfer window. The Dutch international is 90% sure he'll stay at the San Siro until at least after this summer's European Championship but didn't rule out the possibility all together.

PSG TURN SIGHTS ON JAPANESE STAR HONDA

After missing out on long-time transfer target David Beckham, Paris St. Germain is looking to make a splash with the acquisition of Keisuke Honda from CSKA Moscow.

PSG has offered $17 million for the 25-year-old midfielder, an offer well bellow Moscow's current asking price of $32 million. However, Moscow may be tempted to sell the Japanese international as his contract expires a year from now. PSG has also made public its pursuit of Brazilian playmakers Kaka and Alexander Pato as a massive influx of cash from new owners looks to make the side one of the elites of Europe.

RONALDO DIAGNOSED WITH DENGUE FEVER

Former Brazilian international Ronaldo has been released from hospital following being diagnosed with Dengue fever. Ronaldo, 35, reportedly contracted the disease, which is carried by mosquito's, while vacationing in northern Brazil. Dengue rarely fatal and recovery usually lasts a few weeks.

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38 Responses to Thursday kickoff: Suarez issues partial apology, Balotelli out of derby and more

  1. Rory says:

    If he didn’t know that the word is wrong to say, then why doesn’t Suarez appologize to Evra for his poor choice of words?

  2. Paul says:

    “Negro” in Spanish just means black and is used fairly openly (at least in Mexico) to refer to people of African descent. Who knows whether Suarez meant it maliciously (maybe he did), but it’s pretty ridiculous for English authorities to be judging whether something a Spanish-speaker said to a French-speaker was intentionally racist.

  3. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    “PSG has offered $17 million for the 25-year-old midfielder, an offer well BELLOW Moscow’s current asking price of $32 million.”

    “Ronaldo, 35, reportedly contracted the disease, which is carried by mosquito’s…” No apostrophe necessary to make something plural.

    Come on guys! Spell check!

  4. neill says:

    Has anyone denied that Suarez actually said the quotes that are attributed to him in the FA report? They’re pretty damning.

  5. Rory says:

    Except the rule is “no racist language.” The word Negro is considered racist in England, with good reason. Even if Suarez didn’t mean to be racist, he violated the rule… just like when a player comes in late on a tackle, he didn’t intend to hit the back of the guys ankle, but he did, thus it is an offense and a punishment is likely.

  6. Rory says:

    Yeah, it’s all pretty moot if he actually did say “I kicked you because you are black.” It doesn’t matter if Negro is meant as the color or whatever at that point… you can’t explain kicking someone based on their color and not be a racist.

  7. Eric F says:

    If what he said is, in response to “Why did you kick me,” “Because you’re a negro,” as the report claims, and then, after further conversation, “I don’t talk to black people” and “Negro, negro, negro,” then it’s fairly clear he meant it maliciously.

    link to msn.foxsports.com

  8. OmarVizquel says:

    Yes Neill, Suarez denies saying anything other than “¿Por que negro?” in response to something Evra said to him (I don’t remember what, exactly). So yes, he denies those pretty awful things that Evra claims. It boils down to one man’s word against another man’s word. The FA decided that “on the balance of probability” they would believe Evra. But Suarez denies using the word seven times (and with malicious intent) like the FA decided he did.

  9. OmarVizquel says:

    Agreed, Eric. But no evidence was presented to prove he said those things, and Suarez denies them. A pretty sordid episode, all around.

  10. fischy says:

    Any way you try to construct what Suarez might have said, it ain’t good. Basically, he’s saying he said “Why, Blackie?” “What’s the problem, Blackie?” There’s no way you can say he wasn’t using it in a way that is belittling and dehumanizing. Yes, the word is used a lot in Latin America, and the connotation is generally negative, especially when used to address anther person.

  11. Matt C in Tampa says:

    Judgments about the punishment aside, how is the comment NOT racial?

    Why is a player using a player’s skin color or the name for someone of that color in talking to the player?

    Suarez has learned a valuable lesson.

  12. Paul says:

    I guess none of us are exactly sure of what’s happened but the way I see it is he’s apologized for something he apparently didn’t do plus Liverpool havent appealed which just screams out guilty… Doesn’t it?

  13. J Dog says:

    Am I the only one who is bothered by Suspending someone for what is essentially trash talking.
    What if Evra had said, “Whats up Latino” Or If A black lineman called Tom Brady, Cracka. It just seems that its ones word against the other and people need to get a grip

  14. kfly says:

    Really? How would negro NOT offend everybody, Suarez?

    What a scumbag.

  15. CJ says:

    Let’s outlaw “trash-talking” all together, because that’s all this really boils down to. The use of “negro” in Spanish is not equivalent to using “negro” in Ingles, or apparently in French. Suarez is guilty of not knowing the nuances of English mores when it comes to using heated language and he’s being made a scapegoat because of it.

    Now, on the other hand there’s John Terry …

  16. ben in el cajon says:

    This argument might hold if Suarez had just joined the EPL from South America, but I doubt that he had managed to play several years in Holland and a year in England without ever getting an indication that naming someone based on skin color might be considered bad. I just don’t think he’s that stupid or that naive. He knew what he was doing.

  17. J Dog says:

    Negro is the word in spanish for black. Back coffee is Cafe Negro, Negro has only recently acquired a negative connotation in english. If you don’t believe me, check out the United Negro College Fund. That is just the word used to refer to a black person. There is no other word, Like African-European.

  18. Tim Marroquin says:

    “Negro” is a completely acceptable word in the spanish language. There are far worse words to be used in a derogatory way.

    It’s common practice to address people by their physical traits. a perfect example would be the show “ugly betty” or in spanish, “Yo Soy Betea, la Fea”.

  19. CJ says:

    So how would explain the kicker (Suarez) also refers to himself as ‘black’ as is customary in his culture? Many of us are guilty of seeing this issue through our own culturaly-charged prism centered around the pejorative term “negro.” Suarez does not have this bias and was unaware of it’s connotations, until recently. I’m not excusing racial taunting in any way, just trying to explain that’s it’s not as cut-and-dried as if he used the N-word, for example. It’s a difficult thing to discuss without stirring up a lot of trouble.

  20. Rory says:

    Tim, you referenced “Ugly Betty,” you’re Man-card has now been revoked.

  21. J Dog says:

    Summary – In my opinion – Suarez wasn’t trying to be nice, he was pissed and talking trash, but I don’t think he was “Racially Abusing” Poor Patrice Evra. It mainly results from the Ethnic differences between South American’s and the English and words that sound similar but have very different meanings. This is why I don’t feel such a harsh suspension is indicated

  22. Stephen says:

    It is common in Latin american cultures to call someone a nick name by their physical attributes.. for example my wifes family calls me gordo, because I am fat, my wife is rubio, because she is blonde, my uncle is called negro (by his mom) because he is very dark skinned latin american. I am not saying it is excused but I can see how he would not know it was offensive.

  23. fischy says:

    Well — that’s wrong.

    “no evidence was presented to prove he said those things”

    Except of course, Evra’s testimonial evidence and the video and possibly the referee.

  24. Jimmy Bobo says:

    It is my impression that political correctness (a term popularized by Mao)as applied to language is very dependent on the prevailing culture. Whenever I visit my Hispanic relatives in South Florida I am amazed by their lack of politically correct speech. I agree that “Negro” is a completely acceptable term in common parlance among my familiar Cuban/Venezuelan/Colombian group. The entire verbal culture is infused with terms that apply to a person’s appearance. Indeed there was a popular TV show on one of the Spanish-speaking channels called “El Gordo y la flaca.” Basically this refers to the two hosts… a fat man and a skinny lady.

  25. Chino Capuccino says:

    Why aren’t people playing the race card when they see Dempsey in a commercial for Negra Modelo beer? Shouldn’t Negra be Negro since Modelo is masculine?

    Did they change the spelling to avoid offending PC people?

    What about Alvaro ‘Chino’ Recoba? I don’t see him complaining to the refs people are calling him Chinese because he has the slightest slant in his eyes.

  26. KNPonder says:

    Disagree with the last statement. I have family members (from South America) who regularly call siblings and other close family members “negro”, “negrito”, “negrita”. It’s intent is not considered negative or dehumanizing. With that said, one has to understand their audience. I live in the south and I would never call anyone from the US one of these words as I know they will definitely not appreciate it. Despite this, it does not change how some use and interpret the terms in SA.

  27. MiamiFCforever says:

    Negro just means black in espanol.I am Colombian and from Cali we have lots of blacks.Growing up with them it was frequent to meet many of them with the nickname Negro.”Negro pasame el balon!”"dale negro tira!”"QUE PASO MI NEGRO?”not racist.theres many other words to racially abuse blacks Negro isnt one.Im with Suarez I think based on his looks he took some racial abuse in Uruguay looks very Indian not so Euro.Im sure he got some abuse for it.

  28. JG13 says:

    “Shouldn’t Negra be Negro since Modelo is masculine?

    Did they change the spelling to avoid offending PC people?”

    Modelo is the name of the company/brand while the “negra” is describing the beer/lager.

  29. JSmiley says:

    Come on people. It’s not the words he used that are important here. It’s the message. If Suarez’ response to “Why did you kick me?” was “Because you’re black,” and if the other allegations are true, it doesn’t matter if he used “black” or “Negro” or anything else. The message is racist and it deserves to be punished.

    Suarez’ remarks about not knowing the implications of words are just a distraction from the real issue.

  30. downright citizen says:

    Why bring up his race at all if he chooses to “trash talk?” The fact that he brought his race into a disparaging comment is itself racist. That shouldn’t be hard to understand…

  31. vivalosburros says:

    Exactly. From all reports that I have seen the entire conversation took place in Spanish. This has nothing to do with the use of the word negro. All reports in English have translated it as black. Saying that this is an issue about word usage trivializes the whole situation. It is not about his word usage. It is not about what negro means in Spanish. It is that that FA ruled that he used Evra’s race to make disparaging remarks. That is racist and deserves at least the punishment he has received.

    It also seems to me that Liverpool have some apologizing to do after coming out wearing shirts with Suarez’s face on them. Jamie Trecker’s article on this on FoxSoccer is right to call out the whole team.

  32. OmarVizquel says:

    Evra’s testimony is completely different from Suarez’s regarding their conversation — Suarez denies using the word more than once. Evra said he used it 10 times (then he said 5…the FA decided 7!) — so it came down to 2 testimonies. The ref didn’t hear any of it. Neither did any of Evra’s teammates (crucially, not De Gea or Hernandez, who could have provided vital witness statements about the Spanish spoken). And the video didn’t prove anything about the words used in the confrontation. So no, there wasn’t any hard evidence to back up EITHER man’s testimonies.

  33. Eric F says:

    I’m over white people talking about how in their country it’s not racist to be racist, and the only problem is uptight Anglos.

    Here’s a question: Do you think Nenê would get away with Suarez’s lines on an NBA court? He’d be out of the game with a broken jaw and then David Stern would let him sit out the rest of the season.

  34. Eurosnob says:

    The referee, the linesmen and even Evra’s own teammates did not corroborate Evra’s account. And if there was any video evidence of the alleged statements, don’t you think it would be replayed endlessly on TV channels by now? Liverpool has issued an unusually strongly worded statement in Suarez’s defense. It is rather ironic that with the suspension, Suarez will be missing two games against ManCity, but will be back with extra motivation against ManUtd.

  35. Marc says:

    Ban this buck tooth cheater!

  36. Dave says:

    The Mike Tyson of soccer

  37. Oscar says:

    Half-man, Half-Rabbit