The Luis Suarez 8-game punishment is a very bad one. Assuming the matter was proven.
Punishing racist slants is very important. It cannot be dismissed as what Americans call “trash talk” or as “cultural sensitivity”. A black player is entitled to a fair and reasonable environment at his work place. Even if his work place is an emotionally charged football stadium.
Racist slant is worse than most forms of abuse. Because history shows us that racism in the football stadiums is epidemic. If you don’t stop it today – the problem is 10-fold worse tomorrow.
So Suarez should be punished severely.
Two weeks wages, the maximum under current rules, and one should even consider legislation for more severe punishment in such cases.
Or a few dozen hours of community work in minority communities. Maybe even every week to the end of the season.
Maybe he should be simply punished in a general court. On grounds of hate speech.
But a social and moral stand, as important as it is, should not be a serious factor in the outcome of football tournaments.
Racism is not an illegal substance or a two legged tackle. It is way worse. Punishing it with sporting implications actually sends the wrong message and diminishes it’s importance. In the sporting context it should probably be equivalent to any red card.
A one game suspension, £300,000 fine and community work, would be way more appropriate.
Author: Ronen Dorfan