N E W S • F R A M E S • • • • •

About media framing • (written by Brian Dean)

Media on Racism: Part 1 – Churnalism

Top Gear - "Lazy Mexicans"Jan 6, 2012 – 2011 provided some “high-profile” news stories about racism – but even the “quality” press provided little more than churnalism. No doubt it’s safer for reporters to recycle established or “official” views than to delve deeper (or, Editor forbid, to reframe the issue for greater insight). This type of churnalism has its own dangers, as we’ll discover…

Two cases, in particular, are worth looking at (and comparing): BBC2’s Top Gear and Luis Suarez (Liverpool FC footballer). Part 1 considers churnalism and misreporting. (Part 2 will address the media framing).

Top Gear & “Lazy Mexicans”

In January 2011, Jeremy Clarkson and his fellow Top Gear presenters did a routine about “Mexicans”. This led to a trickle of news coverage after a complaint from the Mexican ambassador, but it didn’t become a “proper” story until after Steve Coogan wrote a comment piece (for the Observer) which pointed out that Clarkson & co would never target Africans, Pakistanis or Jews with comparable group-stereotype jokes. When I say it became a “proper” story, I don’t mean penetrating, insightful coverage… I mean: “Celebrity A blasts Celebrity B”.

The official officials who officiated in this case were the BBC and Ofcom. First, the BBC:

‘In a letter to Mexico’s ambassador in London, the BBC said it was sorry if it had offended some people, but said jokes based on national stereotyping were part of British national humour.’

Coogan commented: “The BBC’s initial mealy-mouthed apology was pitiful. It cited the more benign rivalry that exists between European nations (ah, those arrogant French, over-organised Germans), and in doing so neatly sidestepped one hugely important fact – ethnicity […] The Beeb’s hand-wringing suggested tolerance of casual racism, arguably the most sinister kind.”

The media regulator, Ofcom, then cleared Top Gear of breaching broadcasting regulations:

‘Ofcom said Top Gear “frequently uses national stereotypes as a comedic trope and that there were few, if any, nationalities that had not at some point been the subject of the presenters’ mockery…”.’

Interestingly, the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) later upheld a complaint about the show:

“Although the remarks were humorously intended […] their tone and cumulative effect seemed to the ECU to give the impression of reinforcing, rather than ridiculing, the stereotype”

All of which raises some important questions, none of which (to my knowledge) were addressed by media coverage – certainly not by the BBC. (I’ll attempt to deal with these questions in terms of framing in part 2 of this article):

  • Is national stereotyping necessarily less serious than racial stereotyping, and if so, why?
  • Is national stereotyping okay as long as you abuse all nationalities uniformly and humorously?
  • Does the same logic apply to racial stereotyping, and if not, why not?
  • Should TV celebrities be punished as severely as, say, footballers?

Trial by media – Luis Suarez

(Note: references to “para” are to relevant numbered paragraphs in the FA report)

This incident started during a football match, after Patrice Evra (Manchester Utd) made the offensive remark, “your sister’s pussy”*, to Luis Suarez. It’s alleged (by Evra) that Suarez used racial insults in the dialogue that followed. (*Evra made the remark in Spanish: “Concha de tu hermana” para 87).

The official officials who officiated in this case were the Football Association (FA) and their “independent commission” (ie three blokes selected by the FA).

Trial by Media - Luis SuarezSuarez denies making racial insults. The case boils down to meanings of “negro” in Spanish (nearest equivalent in English is “black”). Suarez claims he said “negro” once, inoffensively. Language experts consulted by the FA agreed that: “the use of ‘negro’ as described here by Mr Suarez would not be offensive. Indeed, it is possible that the term was intended as an attempt at conciliation and/or to establish rapport”. (Para 190)

Suarez claims he said “Por qué, negro?” (“why, black?” – para 205). Evra claims he said “Porque tu eres negro” (“Because you are black” – para 205). The latter could be taken as offensive according to the FA’s language experts, but the phrase struck them as “slightly unusual” (para 182), whereas the phrase claimed by Suarez “sounded right linguistically and culturally”. (Para 191)

Initially Evra claimed (in English) that Suarez said, at one point: “I don’t talk to you because you niggers” (para 131). He later withdrew this claim, after realising Suarez had said, in Spanish, “negro”, not “nigger”. (The report quotes Evra admitting that he is “not exactly fluent in Spanish” – para 87). As the FA’s experts pointed out, “the Spanish word ‘negro’ cannot simply be translated as ‘nigger’.” (They also point out that “It may be used affectionately … it may be used as a nickname in everyday speech … several famous people in Uruguay are known as ‘el negro’…” (para 172)

These important details (and much else of relevance) somehow went unreported in most media coverage following the FA’s publication of a 115-page report listing the reasons why the 3-man panel found Suarez “guilty” (but not of being “racist” – paras 224, 414, 454). Unfortunately, ‘churnalism’ had taken the place of responsible reporting…

“Racial abuse” churnalism

The report was published by the FA on New Year’s Eve – which probably didn’t help. What journalist wants to spend the last hours of the year reading 115 pages on racial abuse allegations?

The Guardian led the way with lazy, irresponsible churnalism. Three Guardian articles (each by Stuart James, plus another from Andy Hunter) stated as fact that the panel ‘found that Suárez used the word “negro” or “negros” seven times’.

But no such thing was “found” (even though the panel used that word). There was no evidence or corroborating witness statements confirming the number of times Suarez said “negro”. There was nothing but Patrice Evra’s word. (And Evra had altered his account – he initially told Canal+ TV that Suarez used the racial term “at least ten times” (para 154), but later claimed that this was just “a figure of speech”para 159 – with the FA report stating that he later claimed Suarez used the word “negro” five times – para 205).

In fact, what the report clearly shows is that there was no evidence or supporting witnesses to back up either player’s version of the crucial dialogue between them on the pitch. The entire case came down to one man’s word against another’s. This explains why the panel spent so much time trying to establish a case (again subjective and uncorroborated) that Suarez’s testimony was “unreliable”.

Headline churnalism: “unreliable” evidence

Following the publication of the report, the Press Association ran with: “FA: Suarez evidence ‘unreliable’,” and virtually all major UK media followed suit with similar headings. In what way was the evidence unreliable? The report cites two things – firstly, a few inconsistencies in Suarez’s accounts of the sequence/timing of events (although the panel concedes this is understandable given that Suarez, unlike Evra, wasn’t permitted to see the video footage while being interviewed, and thus relied on memory more – para 320).

Secondly, the panel said it was “unsustainable and simply incredible” for Suarez to describe his behaviour as “conciliatory and friendly” given that “the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument”. (Para 453)

If journalists hadn’t been so quick to ‘churnalise’ the report’s key “findings”, they might have noticed the problems with this – its circular, subjective nature. The panel apparently took as given the very premise under dispute (ie the “acrimonious” nature of Suarez’s “behaviour” – which remains uncorroborated by witness statements and video footage. The panel’s interpretations of Suarez’s expressions and gestures – eg the pat on the head [para 243] – remain deeply subjective and contested).

As a result of this churnalism, every major newspaper report covering this “unreliable evidence” story failed to mention one of the most important pieces of “unreliable evidence” – namely Patrice Evra’s withdrawn initial claim that he was repeatedly called “nigger” (he later conceded it was “negro”), and his withdrawn claim that Suarez said the racial ‘N-word’ “at least ten times” (paras 154, 159). These inconsistencies are at the heart of the allegations, unlike the arguably more minor inconsistencies in Suarez’s account.

Inconsistencies in the “official” report

Another thing that journalists might have highlighted (if they hadn’t been in such a hurry to copy-n-paste summary “findings”) was glaring inconsistency in the report itself.

One striking example is the panel’s “rejection” of the claim that Evra was angry throughout the match – that he was “tipped over the edge” by events (para 333), putting him in an agitated/vengeful state of mind. Here’s what the report said:

‘We rejected that submission […] Mr [Ryan] Giggs described the Liverpool v Manchester United game as the biggest match. He did not consider that Mr Evra was wound up save in so far as everyone was wound up to a certain extent given the fixture. We reject the submission that Mr Evra was unduly wound up such that he was tipped over the edge to pursue vengeance against Mr Suarez.’ [Para 333]

But this conclusion that Evra wasn’t “tipped over the edge” (prior to accusing Suarez) is inconsistent with the testimony of Giggs cited earlier in the report:

‘It was obvious to Mr Giggs from looking at Mr Evra that he was upset. He said that Mr Evra did not seem quite with it, you might call it red mist […] Mr Giggs then told Mr Evra to calm down and not get himself sent off’. (Para 114 – my emphasis)

The report also states that Evra was “angry” from the very start of the match, “when he was seen to dispute the outcome of the coin toss with the referee” (para 329). (Evra, by his own admission (para 92), threatened to “punch” Suarez during the game). Of course, none of this negates Evra’s own testimony – but it provides a clearly relevant example of the panel’s inconsistent treatment of the evidence.

To my knowledge, not a single newspaper commented on inconsistencies of this type, which are evident throughout the report. The reporters had their easy-to-churn, momentum-propelled story: the “unreliability” was all Suarez’s. He was not only a racist, but a liar (although they wouldn’t word it quite so bluntly as that). Case closed. How could it possibly be otherwise?

“No Excuse”

Argentine players display bannerAn apparently widely-held view arising from the Suarez case (including, it seems, among Guardian writers and editors) is that since Suarez admitted using the Spanish term “negro” (once), he is guilty of racial abuse, that all mitigating circumstances boil down to “excuses”, and that those who defend him are effectively harming efforts to eradicate racism.

This view has far-reaching implications, of course. Even convicted murderers are granted the right to protest their innocence, citing lack of evidence, mitigating factors (such as self-defence, etc). Their defenders are not usually accused of misguidedly supporting murder – at least not by the “liberal” media.

So what explains these “deep” differences in conceptual approach? Was Patrice Evra correct when he claimed that the Spanish for “your sister’s pussy” translates to “fucking hell” in English? (para 87). And are there any meaningful comparisons to be made between the Top Gear and Suarez cases in terms of media treatment? All this will be addressed in Part 2, which concentrates on the media framing aspects…

Click here for Part 2 of this article >

[Update 11/1/12 – Football lawyer, Daniel Geey, has looked in detail
at some of the evidential inconsistencies which I mention above].

Written by NewsFrames

January 6, 2012 at 3:02 am

Posted in BBC, Churnalism, Guardian, Racism

206 Responses

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  1. The first question asked by a reporter at Dalglish’s press conference was:

    “Kenny, the wider world is pretty shocked that, if a player can call someone ‘negro’ and the player who is the victim in this takes offence, that there is no apology or contrition offered from your club.”

    I would hope the “wider world” has more sense than this reporter. The confusion on display is remarkable. The media seems to not properly take into account that Suarez speaks in Spanish. Words have very different meanings in different languages. The “victim” took offense because he (wrongly) thought Suarez had said “nigger”. He has admitted he was wrong in this. The FA’s language experts confirm that “negro” can and does have friendly usages in Spanish (as illustrated very well in the Argentine banner image in your excellent article).

    As for your hinted-at comparisons, I find the Top Gear presenters’ approach to race and nationality far more worrying than anything Luis Suarez has said. But I don’t see the media so keen on going after powerful English-speaking white blokes like Clarkson. Suarez makes an easier target – he’s the ideal scapegoat.


    Alec Gerrard

    January 6, 2012 at 11:50 am

    • I can assure you, the wider world understands what’s going on. I am the author of the biggest Hungarian Liverpool blog so I heard a lot of opinions including Liverpool fans and other fans as well. Most of them (and I) don’t understand the decision – even some of our United-fans think the FA made a foul out of themselves.

      As a daily reader of the English newspapers I was quite shocked by their ignorance of the very obvious facts which made me think they don’t really care what happened. I think that they, the FA, or I can say England needed somebody so they could say ‘we are fighting against racism’. They wanted to send a message and in order to do that they deliberately missed the facts.

      I admit it’s a bit childish but as a foreigner I always thought that fighting for justice and the English jurisdiction are synonyms. Sad to hear they are not.


      January 9, 2012 at 8:40 am

      • Me too, this is all wrong,British justice is seen as something to be ridiculed by this decision, in the interests of fairness, the FA must do something to enable those wrongly accused to appeal against such decisions.

        Maureen Taft

        January 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

  2. Evra changes his story, and admits that he THOUGHT he had been adddressed as “nigger” but he hadn’t been. And it’s Suarez who’s deemed an unreliable witness. After he’s not allowed to review video-evidence as he’s giving his testimony and after he is badgered and witness-(mis)led over his (translated) use of ‘conciliatory’. Cangaroo-court and yellow press. Churnalism, indeed.


    January 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm

  3. Really excellent piece! Captures everything I have been thinking but I don’t have the appropriate skills which you have in abundance to articulate!

    Jimmy Henry

    January 8, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    • very very good article. The nail has been introduced to the head

      steve palmer

      January 8, 2012 at 10:58 pm

  4. Have you seen Clarksons latest racist joke about the 23 Chinese cockle-pickers who drowned in the Lancashire bay in 2004?

    How is this man still employed by the BRITISH BROADCASTING COMPANY, paid out of our license fees!


    January 8, 2012 at 11:15 pm

  5. Excellent piece but what good will it do ? They,re simply not listening. no matter how many times or however eloquently the glaring flawes are presented,they,re not interested. I too find it staggering that not one mainstream journalist has took one step back and thought “ hang on a minute,this doesn’t add up ? ” I,d love to know why


    January 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    • Because that wouldn’t sell papers.. no editor in their right mind would allow an article to be published defending a man who has been found guilty of using racist slurs no matter how inconsistant and wrong the report is. Papers dont care that a mans reputation now lies in tatters. Much to all the absolute crap they churn out every day, they dont care what effect it has on peoples lives so long as they sell their papers..
      The problem nowadays is that too many people take to heart what is written in the papers. They believe it all. They are also the same people who throw abuse at soap actors in the street because they believe they are real.. Its a sad case but true. The idiots are winning…


      January 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    • Its a combination of a complete lack of integrity, utter laziness and a fear of losing ones job. We have fought and lost this battle and the damage done to any anti-racism campaign is immeasurable as Evra has just cried wolf for an entire generation/race. In my eyes the bottom line was always going to be this…….Given the political climate at the time with the FA having just berated Sepp Blatter for his handshake comments (how ironic!) and their determination to send a clear anti-racist message, combined with the fact that they knew they were perceived as an elderly white gentleman managed bastion of authority, meant that there was not a cat in hell’s chance they were going to call a black man a liar. To find in Suarez’ favour would by implication do just that and as such was never to happen. This is why much of the business end of the report is just scaffolding upon which to hang the ‘guilty’ verdict. It (the conclusion) sets out, in the main, not to show investigative processes, weighing up of what may or may not have happened and provide balanced summary but instead focuses on discrediting Luis’ version of events so providing the open door through which to march the allegations against him. Its pathetic really. SOME of the more mainstream journalists have read ALL the report, they must have done, these guys aren’t at the top of their trade by being illiterate or scared to read 112 pages of heavy verbage, and having done so they must be aware of the evidence in Suarez favour. What I find disgusting is that not one of them has had the slightest courage to convince their editor to run the other side of the story or at least provide a more balanced view. If they have any integrity or honour then the fact that this gross misrepresentation (you can call it lies if you want) will forever be to their shame ought to sting, but it probably won’t.


      February 19, 2012 at 10:17 am

  6. Excellent article. Please send it to the FA and the shameful British sporting press!

    Paul Smith

    January 8, 2012 at 11:54 pm

  7. Mate that was a stunning piece. It needs a lot more exposure than it has got so far. I’m linking it to everyone on twitter, including that vile piece of work Oliver Holt. I’d love to read more of your stuff.

  8. This article is fantastic! Hit the nail right on the head here and found all the holes the media chose not to put it. Just brilliant piece this is.

    Dominik Contu

    January 9, 2012 at 12:01 am

  9. Excellent article that highlights the incompetence if not downright dishonesty of the F.A. and the willingness of the national press to let nothing especially little details like FACTS to get in the way of a good story. Sadly this is what we have now come to expect both from the media and the F.A.

    This excellent article deserves wider distribution, certainly the media and F.A. would benefit from reading it.


    January 9, 2012 at 12:20 am

  10. apparently “negro” is also used if a person has dark hair, the way english-speaking people might say “blondie” to fair-haired

    michelle mckay

    January 9, 2012 at 12:38 am

  11. Can sombody explain to me why “negros” can use the word negro, but not we. And what is the propiate word for “negros”?

    Thomas Holmstrøm

    January 9, 2012 at 1:21 am

    • Thomas – as much as overt racial “sensitivity” (if you can call it that) is an annoyance that often borders upon racism itself at times, at least in Britain and America it would be deemed inappropriate because of the implications of when Africans were a slave race to the white Europeans and Americans. Much like the issue of a black person calling a compatriot “nigga” in an affectionate way versus a white person calling a black person a “nigger” in a derogatory way, there is a lot to do with context, but quite simply, you know that the context isn’t going to be a master/servant one between two black people (or at least I hope not!), whereas there is always going to be that implication between white people and black people, even if all those events were in the past, even if I never have any plans of enslaving any human, black or not, I think now it will always have that implication.

      Chris Rock’s “I love black people but I *HATE* niggers!” sketch is something I’m unashamed to find funny, but a comedian who wasn’t of African/Carribean American descent probably wouldn’t have got away with it, and most likely shouldn’t have; however I feel it’s more of a challenge towards the use of the term nigger in what/who it describes. In many ways, he’s challenging the people that aren’t challenging the stereotype, but again, without being “a part” of that community it could very easily look like targeted, hateful racism. I think there are a lot of grey areas that we probably should be more inclined to push the boundaries on, but for every well-wisher who dreams of a true equality, it’s a sad truth that there’ll be more ignorant, hateful people waiting behind to jump on the ideal and twist it to their ways.

      Nicholas Hartley

      January 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

  12. “Concha de tu hermana” Literally translates into ‘shell of your sister’, so either the FA needs to get better Spanish translaters employed, or hold their hands up and admit they have got it wrong, and are punishing Suarez in order to prove a point about ‘being seen to do something’ about ‘racism’.

    Lesley Mason

    January 9, 2012 at 1:29 am

    • Yes, “shell” is the literal meaning of concha but in parts of Latin America it does also have the more vulgar slang meaning.


      January 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      • Hi, I can assure you that if you shout “concha de tu hermana” on a crowded beach in Uruguay, nobody is going to think you are referring to a shell.


        February 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    • I grew-up in Montevideo. “Concha de tu hermana” is an insult, it refers to the person’s sister’s genitalia. Actually it should be “anda a la concha de tu hermana” What you are actually saying is “go f*** your sister” It is a step below of “anda a la concha de tu madre” which would mean “go f*** your mother” I cannot say what was Evra’s real intention when he said this, clearly he was not praising Suarez skills or being in any form kind. In a Uruguayan street this would probably end in a fist fight, I had more than one black eye to prove it. Having three sisters did not help, in one fight one of my brothers an I ended-up in the precinct for “defending” my youngest sister’s “honor”. By the way, my middle sister’s nickname is “negrita”. Last time I was in Uruguay, after 20 years, being politically correct after so many years in the US I asked my cousin about her using her real name, his reply was: who? I “corrected” myself and said “la negrita”

      Juan Jose Castro

      January 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      • The same insult also got Zidane in trouble during the WC final (the famous headbutt). Evra knew clearly what he was saying and said it in Spanish to make sure that Suarez understoond it perfectly and get insutled by it. People should ask themselves “why didn’t Evra use the “F” word instead?” Becasue it would not have hurt Suarez as much.

        There is no difference between Evra and Materazzi in both situations. Both used a very powerful insults in the mind of their opponents, that took them by surprise, to get them sent off. It is evil at its best.

        This is the second high profile case that this type of insult were used to the detriment of the sport. Maybe, it’s time that FIFA interfere and ban this type of insults.


        January 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    • Yes. you are mistaking the literal translation of the words and not the whole sentence.
      If reference is made to a woman’s pussy it is not referring to her cat,. If i say it is ‘raining cats and dogs… well you get the point.
      Great article and absolutely spot on.

      PS I was involved in a large PR campaign a few years ago when my company developed a new product. We hired a PR company and they warned us to be prepared as journalists are almost exclusively lazy and incompetent. She turned out to be spot on.


      January 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    • No. “Concha de tu hermana” literally translates as “Cunt of your sister”.

      Jorge turini

      January 17, 2012 at 3:03 pm

  13. Liverpool supporters have contacted the FA to ask why Evra isn’t being charged for the “concha de tu hermana” remark.

    Apparently, it was just an “exclamation” and not directed at anybody. In which case, why was it in Spanish?!

    The mind boggles.


    January 9, 2012 at 1:51 am

  14. any lazy journalists out there?

    Brad Heng

    January 9, 2012 at 1:59 am

  15. I’d love this to be read by a wider audience. Unfortunately, it won’t.

    Everyone has read the headlines, and taken them as fact. Now knowing that ‘fact’, people don’t want to be told, they’re wrong. It doesn’t compute, in their nicely ordered squared away world were goodies are good and baddies are bad.

    The flawed F.A. outcome, gathered legs as soon as the rest of the lazy journalists picked out the banner headlines, whilst at the same time, forgetting to add the substance.

    We live in a soundbite world where nobody has time to read the small print.

    Suarez is guilty, because the press said he is. Therefore IT MUST BE TRUE!

    It’s just a shame so many people have an agenda and an axe to grind. This could of been the F.A. moment in the sun, and line in the sand in their stand against any kind of bigotry in football.

    It’s just a shame that they blew it so spectacularly.

    But hey! That doesn’t matter, the press says Suarez is the devil incarnate, so it must be so.

    Nice piece. It’s just a shame none of Fleet Street either had the balls to stick their head above the parapet and break from the party line, or why they are all so absolutely entrenched in their view that the sun shines out of Patrice Evra’s backside.

    I’m not one for conspiracy theory, but this entire sorry episode stinks like a rotten corpse.


    January 9, 2012 at 2:49 am

  16. Thank you for this wonderful article, and I mourn the fact that only a small number of people will come to see it, as opposed to the millions who digest and then defecate the processed crap fed to them by an amoral media establishment bent on destroying people’s lives for the sake of the juiciest, most salacious slant they can put upon the story to which they are assigned.

    I must say that I’m particularly disgusted with The Guardian and The Independent over this – For all their (glaring) flaws, I usually expect something above the level of Sun-speak, but on this occasion, no. And for that they should be far, far more ashamed than those who write for the aforementioned rag and its contemporaries.


    January 9, 2012 at 2:55 am

  17. You seem to be ignoring paragraphs 138 and 140, which corroborate at least part of Evra’s version, and this coming from LFC officials.


    January 9, 2012 at 3:49 am

    • Not ignoring, Oggi. I think para 138 is another example of the FA panel’s inconsistent approach to the evidence. (Para 140 doesn’t add much to 138). Para 138 states:

      ‘Mr Comolli said in his witness statement that Mr Suarez told him nothing happened.He said that there was one incident where he said sorry to Mr Evra and Mr Evra told him “Don’t touch me, South American” to which Mr Comolli thought Mr Suarez said he had replied “Por que, tu eres negro?”. Mr Suarez was emphatic that he had not said anything that could be classified as racial abuse.’

      Here’s what Comolli says in his witness statement [para 293]:

      “[M]y recollection was that LS had replied to PE “Why, because you are black?”. I thought he had said “Por que, tu eres negro?” or “Por que es negro?”. “Por que” can mean both “Because” and “Why” in Spanish. I thought that LS had said “Por que” meaning “Because” and therefore assumed that he would have used the words “you are” to say “Because you are black?”. Instead LS said “Por que” to mean “why” as in “Por que negro?”. I therefore accept LS’s version that he said “Por que negro?” in reply to PE’s request that he should not touch him.”

      The FA’s panel decided to take the “Por que, tu eres negro?” part (of para 138) as a “finding of fact” while rejecting the “Don’t touch me, South American” part. They really don’t have a leg to stand on here, since the only basis they have for either rejecting or accepting is the claims by the witnesses Suarez & Evra (and, in this case, Comolli reporting what he thought Suarez said after the event).

      In other words, there’s no basis to reject the “Don’t touch me, South American” part, given that they accept the other part as supporting their “findings”. They simply reject the “South American” claim out of hand, while effectively “finding” that the dual meanings of “Por que” couldn’t have been confused by Comolli. It’s another case of stretching interpretations of the evidence in the direction of the “findings” which they wish to present as “fact” (but which are nothing of the sort).


      January 9, 2012 at 10:35 am

      • Further to that, “Por que, tu eres negro?” doesn’t even make sense. It isn’t Spanish.


        January 9, 2012 at 10:52 am

      • and not to mention the fact that what Evra (and sadly Comolli) claimed Suarez had said could not have been said by Suarez. It was grammatically wrong, and no one having grown up in Uruguay would have said that, as was pointed out by the Uruguay-born linguist from Brown University. Check this piece out: http://forums.liverpoolfc.tv/showthread.php?p=6862314

        Great piece of work! Looking forward to part 2.


        January 9, 2012 at 11:33 am

  18. There is a story doing the rounds that has not been picked up by the British Media.

    It involves Alvaro Pereira, one of Suarez’ Uruguay team mates. In no uncertain terms, Pereira criticizes Evra (even threatens him with violence). Pereira’s outburst is inappropriate – probably worth condemning.

    But his stance should alarm everyone at the FA. Lest we forget, the World Cup is but two years away. And it will be played in Brazil. The FA’s decision to find Suarez guilty on a balance of probability and its decision to act with decisiveness on a very nuanced case has found little support in Latin America’s spanish speaking nations. In fact, it has upset many of them, as Pereira’s outburst indicates, since it has effectively condemned their culture as racist.

    Pereira’s remarks bring up a sobering reality. The FA’s posturing, the decision to use a non-criminal process for the trial, and the media’s diatribes against Suarez and Liverpool have international ramifications. The verdict was, rightly or wroingly, seen as an indictment of Uruguayan and Latin American culture by a European country that has a far worse record on racism. The media’s sanctimonious posturing is going to cost England – and France – dearly.

    By turning an innocuous word into a bonafide racist term by virtue of the harsh verdict and the apparent willingness to attribute guilt without what would constitue sufficient evidence in a criminal court will come back to haunt England. England’s ethnic minority players, as well as Evra and possibly France’s minority players can now count on being subjected to racial abuse. And by the English media’s own standards, since the region they re playing in dictates the cultural norms, FIFA will be powerless to do anything about it.

    Yes, England, your sanctimonious righteousness has won you a minor battle against racism. But its overturned everything you hoped for. Racism for English and European players will only become worse in other countries. By failing to pay attention to cultural norms and national sensitivities, the FA and media have delivered a harsh verdict on Latin American spanish culture. I suspect they will respond by making their own statement, one that English and European players will find patently racist.

    So is it the victory England claims it is.

    Canadian Red

    January 9, 2012 at 4:08 am

    • Also worth noting is that Pereira is a black Uruguayan, so he obviously wasn’t offended by Suarez saying “Porque? negro”


      January 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    • canadian red…

      You are 100%!!!. Being Uruguayan i’m outraged and furious regarding this incident. As a Nation we fought alongside blacks and indians for our independence! And abolished slavery [brought by europeans] in 1841; while England, France etc. were establishing an economy based on slavery, colonizing people around the world. So watching a compatriot being tagged as racist is something that we can’t tolerate, and this coming from well known former Empire. It involves every Uruguayan and believe me…it hurts. Seems nobody gives a f*** the fact that Suarez is Uruguayan [certainly a less developed, little piece of land somewhere in S.A] and Evra is French [european, powerful ex-colonialist country]; Who’s word is more reliable? It is quite obvious, isn’t it?
      Fortunately around here [S.America] we won’t take seriously this farce! We are not that naive or ignorant to see this.

      Santiago Píriz

      January 13, 2012 at 2:24 am

  19. Great read!!

    Emmanuel Lee

    January 9, 2012 at 4:14 am

  20. Very good article! Enlightening what an ignorant and stupid “independent commission”, that was selected by the FA.

    Brad the Viking

    January 9, 2012 at 8:26 am

  21. Great article that anybody who believes the FA and subsequent media witchunt should really read.

    Nick Morrell

    January 9, 2012 at 9:46 am

  22. […] little bit on churnalism here.. suitably harsh on the guardian https://newsframes.wordpress.com/2012…sm-churnalism/ […]

  23. […] – mzz From liverpoolfc.tv forum says the whole verdict is based on an incorrect translation https://newsframes.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/media-on-racism-churnalism/ Brilliant! Reply With Quote + Reply to […]

  24. There’s two sides to communication – the intention and intended meaning of the person saying the words, and the interpretation of them by the listener.

    So many things happen, from moment the words are formulated in the speaker’s mind, to them coming out of their mouth, travelling through the air to the ears of the listener, and then being interpreted by the listener.

    The FA has made a serious boob in my opinion by not looking at Suarez’s subjective intention in saying the word “negro”. They’ve merely looked at whether the word is, in and of itself, offensive, and only whether it’s offensive in the UK.

    I also don’t think they’ve investigated the environment they were said in – a high pressure game, in a noisy stadium – and the effect that that might have had.

    I think it’s unfortunate that, in these cases of alleged racism, the intention and cultural background of the speaker isn’t taken into account. Surely, if we’re to live in a tolerant society, we must think about that as well.

    Jam Sandwich

    January 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

    • To be fair, I don’t think that’s the issue in this case.

      It wasn’t that the commission found Suarez guilty because he referred to Evra’s race, they found him guilty because he referred to Evra’s race in the abusive manner that Evra’s alleged.


      January 9, 2012 at 11:00 am

      • I’ll have to look more carefully at the “subjective vs. objective” approach they talk about in the report. There are paragraphs where the Commission sets out its stall by saying that the intention of the speaker is not being investigated, but the objective meaning of the word (paras 50-73; para 389). They go into some justification for that approach.

        I think the conclusion is that Suarez used a word which is insulting in the English footballing context. They don’t look at whether Suarez INTENDED for the word to be insulting or not.

        This is a subtle but very important point that is totally ignored by the media, who instead paint up the inaccurate impression that Suarez has been found “guilty of racial abuse”. He hasn’t – the words themselves were considered insulting, not Suarez.

        Jam Sandwich

        January 9, 2012 at 11:29 am

  25. take a look at this an excellent, intresting and impartial view of the churnalism events surrounding the Suarez/Evra case

    alan aspey (@awa83893)

    January 9, 2012 at 11:13 am

  26. An open minded view re Suarez-Evra case.

    Alan Aspey

    January 9, 2012 at 11:17 am

  27. Great piece of writing, someone willing to look beyond the soundbites and blood thirsty burn the filthy foreign racist brigade of middle England.

    Just a shame that there isn’t enough ‘real’ – hah – journalists out there who have the balls to put their heads above the lies and dig for a little bit of balance and truth. It’s not like they don’t know the truth, they just don’t care as it does not fit their agenda.

    Gary O

    January 9, 2012 at 11:19 am

  28. Well done for pointing out the inconsistencies. The FA seem to have decided they wanted to make a point and skewed the facts to fit in with their opinions.
    I hope LS realises that a lot of people totally sympathise with him in this case and do not feel he has had justice. Hope he can get through this and get back to playing brilliant football!


    January 9, 2012 at 11:22 am

  29. Thank you for this article. I have spent hours on the Guardian trying to make these points, though not as eloquently as you. There has been very little critical thinking over this verdict and I’m not convinced many journalists have bothered reading the report. Which, if you’ve read Flat Earth News, isn’t surprising.

    Well done for doing a thorough job, and shame on the rest of the media.


    January 9, 2012 at 11:38 am

  30. I hope this article gets the exposure it deserves.


    January 9, 2012 at 11:53 am

  31. Great article and preaches pretty much everything I have said since the report was released. It is staggering the amount of bias the media are showing with this.

    I feel LFC need to take a stand and take it further or release its evidence showing the FA up.

    Joke of a decision. Hope some journo with balls reads this and puts it in the mainstream for all to read.

    Keep it up mate.
    Designer Boutique Menswear.

    Men's Armani Jeans

    January 9, 2012 at 11:53 am

  32. Great article. It makes sound arguments with pertinent examples of the hypocrisy and laziness that pervades much of the popular media.

    It’s a disgrace how facts followed the the verdict, rather than the other way around. And all that is at stake is a man’s character, reputation, and livelihood…

    The media obligingly played their part in this fiasco, which provides little faith in their ability to play a supposedly crucial part in a democratic society of free speech.

    Kris Guy (@kris_guy)

    January 9, 2012 at 11:59 am

  33. Exactly what many of us have been saying. However, we are told we have a persecution complex and to move on. Surely there must be one journalist out there who could try and do a balanced piece on this whole fiasco?

    Sally Officer

    January 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    • Henry Winter has been a bit more balanced than most. Probably on account of his relationship with Dalglish.

      Whether he’d be willing to break rank and undermine the FA – I don’t know.


      January 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    • There are plenty of “journalists” out there who may want to do a balanced piece but they have to tow the party line otherwise they wont be journalists for long.

      I used to work for a very large and prominent “news” organization that employed nearly 10,000 people world wide and one thing I can say for sure is that by and large the “journalists” that last and do well are the ones that do as they’re told rather than do what’s right.

      As for the party line, that means anything that fits in with the news company’s agenda. Oh and you better believe that they have an agenda!


      January 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      • I would hope that at least one organisation would pick up on the “miscarriage of justice” angle.

        Otherwise, the story has run it’s course, right? Suarez was found guilty and is serving his ban. The end. Never mind the elephant in the room.


        January 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    • There was one pro-LFC commentary in the Liverpool Daily Post, but that seems to have been taken down.

      To be honest, I’d pay little attention to the emotive spin that the media puts on things. It’s difficult, but it’s best to try and read between the lines, get at the actual facts of what’s going on, assess the causes and effects and make up your own mind.

      The media just want to wind people up into a frenzy to a) sell more papers and get more hits on their website, and b) provoke another story (such as the Adeyemi abuse) so as to sell more papers and get more hits on their website. Then after a few days, it all dies down and they have to find some new meat to feed to the hungry masses.

      It’s the way our commercial culture works.

      Jam Sandwich

      January 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

  34. An excellent and considered piece, which adds an element of sobriety to the debate.

    It again shows how everyone involved in this episode could have and should have dealt with it better. That includes us (LFC) I’m afraid, as we unfortunately gave the media some soundbites to run with, and as you have so eloquently explained – that was like manna from heaven to some of the journalists who have commented (vociferously) on the event.

    Well done for setting an example that one would hope more journalists would have the courage to follow.

    Mark A Warmington

    January 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm

  35. Nevertheless – he referred to a player’s skin colour – admitted to it and was duely sanctioned.

    Jon the boy

    January 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    • He was sanctioned for saying it 7 times when in fact there is no proof. That in turn makes it look at lot worse than what it is. He admitted using a word ONCE that he himself and his culture do not deem offensive but in England it is a word that cannot be used. Therefore the FA should have only taken Suarez’s own admission as grounds and clearly explained this as their reason. What they have done is condemed a man to be a racist and alienated an entire continents culture…
      The inconsistancies in the report is why Liverpool and their fans do not accept the verdict. And im fairly sure a large portion of Latin America are not happy with the out come either….


      January 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      • Of course we are NOT happy here in S.America…Reminds us when we USED to be colonies to the former europeans empires. Times there a changing!

        Santiago Píriz

        January 13, 2012 at 2:37 am

    • His reference to skin colour was not done in a “racist” way and its a normal way to refer to someone where suarez comes from.


      January 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    • I agree and think the point that unfortunately has been missed is that Suarez could make the statement, cause offence and do so without intent (if one were to give the benefit of the doubt ): intention and impact are not necessarily the same thing, so it is entirely understandable that Evra could take offence to what Suarez has admitted saying – I get the impression the sanction is due more so to that concession not being acknowledged soon enough.

      This piece is merely highlighting that the affair is not as cut and dry, as simple, as some of the reporting makes it out to be. The same headline grabbing reporting that results in increased circulation and people labelling LFC as a racist club or a club with a racist fan-base in sweeping, generalised statements.

      Mark A Warmington

      January 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      • What is in explicable here is that Evra started the conversation in Spanish by using the “Your sister’s…..” comment, which implies he understands the nuances of the language, (and the FA accept that in Spanish such a phrase is acceptable) then is offended because he didn’t accept the Spanish nuance of the answer he got.

        Johnny boy

        January 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm

  36. If you are going to criticise media “churnalism” – a noble art – then I suggest you should not use highly selective quotes from publicly-available reports.

    It’s a long and messy process to correct some of the assertions you’ve made here, but I’ll limit myself to three.

    1: Evra’s use of the word “ten times” was addressed within the report. Evra said that in French “ten times” is a figure of speech meaning “many” rather than a precise figure. Damien Comolli of Liverpool accepted this, although he didn’t believe it would be used over a serious matter. The report found that Evra’s “ten times” statement was not a significant issue. It isn’t the case that the press glossed over the matter. Similarly, you don’t mention that Evra withdrew the “nigger” allegation almost immediately, and fully accepted that Suarez said “negro.”

    2: The report did state that “negro” can be used in a friendly manner in Uruguay. It also stated – by 3 independent linguistic experts – that a significant number of black Uruguayans do object to its use, and concluded that the meaning of the word was largely due to context; in the middle of an argument, the friendly use thing was not found by the report to be plausible.

    3: The panel did not take “as given” the acrimonious nature of the argument. They studied the video footage and the behaviour of the players extremely carefully. There are numerous paragraphs in the report where they describe the actions, such as Suarez’s pinching of Evra, in the context of the player’s demeanour.

    4: It is not just Evra’s “claim” that “your sister’s pussy” translates to “fucking hell” in English. It was accepted by Liverpool Football Club that this is the case.

    You can, by all means, criticise or cast doubt on the FA report. However, I suggest you get your own house in order before criticising the media. I read the report, and the newspaper pieces to which you refer give a far more balanced account of its contents than this post does.

    *** The blog author, Newsframes, has responded to Mike Morris’s points below ***

    Mike Morris

    January 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    • The problem you have is that everything was addressed in the report, and Evra was given the benefit of the doubt just about every single time, whereas Suarez was undermined at every opportunity. It’s simply not good enough.


      January 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      • That’s not what this piece says, unfortunately: it claims the report was misrepresented by the press. Whether I agree with you or not – and I found the report quite balanced, frankly – that is not backed up by the piece itself, which quotes highly selectively from the report to make its case.

        Mike Morris

        January 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      • I don’t see what your problem is, Mike. This blog is about churnalism. Therefore it highlights some of the instances which raise questions about the whole process. If you look at Evra’s statements, you get this:

        1. During the match, Evra complains to the referee that he’s been called black.

        2. After the match, he gives an interview to Canal+ stating he’s been called “n*****” at least ten times. He explains it’s just a figure of speech, but Comolli says that such an expression would not be used in such a context. The referee’s report contains only one instance of the word being used.

        3. The number five makes its appearance at some point after the game. Haughan says he’d overheard Ferguson said Evra had been called “n*****” five times, yet in his evidence Ferguson says he doesn’t remember using such a precise number and would be unlikely to do so. Evra’s evidence doesn’t show that he told Ferguson he’d been abused five times.

        So what was said? N***** or “negro”, once or five or at least ten times? It seems clear that there was plenty of confusion after the match and there are many inconsistencies in Evra’s statements. Anyone who has read the report could see that, but I haven’t seen any report admit it. Only a one-sided interpretation of events can reach the conclusion that Evra is entirely reliable whereas Suarez is entirely unreliable.


        January 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    • Most of the media coverage has been one-sided and virtually completely pro-Commission and against LFC. I haven’t seen any sensible, balanced, well-reasoned and argued discussion and debate on this in the media (but please provide links if you do know of any).

      A lot of what I’ve read isn’t reasoned, it uses a lot of emotive language designed to whip people into a frenzy.

      I should just point out that your post isn’t balanced either. Is it any surprise that, when everyone seems to be jumping on one bandwagon or another, there’s no balance to any of the reporting on this?

      That is bad for democracy and free speech.

      Jam Sandwich

      January 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      • What’s unbalanced about my post?

        Mike Morris

        January 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    • 1. Don’t you think the report should have found Evra’s “ten times” statement to be a significant issue? Even as a figure of speech, Evra is using it in the context of a serious allegation. At best, it’s an exaggeration that casts doubt on his reliability. The false “nigger” allegation was in Evra’s first written statement. Which is, at best, also an exaggeration that casts doubt on his reliability.
      2. What the commission and/or their linguistic experts failed to account for was the use of “negro” simply as a descriptive noun with a meaning that is not context dependant.
      3. The video footage remains ambiguous. It can interpreted as corroborating Suarez’s version of events as much or as little as it corroborates Evra’s.
      4. Liverpool and Suarez accepted that “concha de tu hermana” can be an exclamation equivalent to “fucking hell”. Your linguistic experts also considered it equivalent to the direct insult “son of a bitch”. On the balance of probability, considering Evra said it in Spanish, which meaning do you think is more likely?


      January 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      • What you are now doing is finding fault with the report. Which is fair enough, even if I don’t agree with your points. However, the piece criticised the newspaper pieces describing the report, not the report itself.

        Look, I’m not arguing the report’s content in detail, as I’ll be here all day. I was just making the point that a piece criticising newspaper coverage of the report gives a pretty distorted account of what the report actually says.

        Mike Morris

        January 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    • What’s unbalanced?

      Just about everything you’ve written is supportive of the report. You don’t entertain very much the possibility that it might be flawed.

      To me, a balanced piece looks at both sides of the argument, for example, why the Commission’s report is right, and why it is wrong. Or that Suarez used “racist” language, or that it was “friendly”, and comes up with reasoned arguments in favour of them.

      Like I said, 99.9% of what I’ve read touts the line “the Commission is 100% right, and LFC are completely out of order”. Or “Suarez racially abused Evra”.

      I haven’t read any journalist with the balls to challenge the Commission’s line, most probably because their hands are tied by the editors.

      That is not “balanced”.

      Jam Sandwich

      January 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      • I’m not supportive of the report at all. I’m just clarifying what it says, which the original piece did in a very selective way. I don’t comment on it one way or the other.

        Mike Morris

        January 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    • Mike, to address your points:

      1. In fact, I mentioned in my piece that Evra described his “at least ten times” claim as a “figure of speech”, and I pointed to where in the report he’s quoted as saying it (para 159). You say the report “addressed” this. It addressed it by simply accepting Evra’s word. As for what Comolli said about it, here’s para 160 from the report:-

      “160. When Mr Comolli gave evidence, Mr McCormick asked him whether that evidence from Mr Evra about the phrase ten times accorded with Mr Comolli’s knowledge as a Frenchman of the French language and French behaviour. His answer was: not in these circumstances. He said that if his daughter asked him for a toy for Christmas and she says it five, six, seven times, he might say “You already told me ten times”. But, in those circumstances (referring to Mr Evra giving an interview after the game), nobody in the French language will say that (ie ten times) because it’s too important. You have to be precise in what you say.”

      So, where does the idea that Comolli “accepted” Evra’s “figure of speech” reason come from? Probably from para 280, which says:

      “280. Mr Evra said that the phrase “ten times” was just a figure of speech in France. We understood Mr Comolli to say broadly the same thing, though he thought that Mr Evra should have been more precise when giving evidence on such a serious matter on television.”

      Compare what the FA’s panel “understood” (in para 280) with what Comolli actually said (as reported in 160). This is yet another example of the FA panel’s dubious (ie misleading) treatment of the evidence.

      You say “It isn’t the case that the press glossed over the matter”. Can you point me to any coverage (following the New Year’s Eve publication of the FA report) which draws attention to it (eg in the context of claims of “unreliability” in the evidence)?

      2. You say: “in the middle of an argument, the friendly use thing was not found by the report to be plausible”. In fact, as I point out, the experts were of the opinion that it depended on whose account you believed. Eg, Para 190 from the FA’s report states:

      “the use of “negro” as described here by Mr Suarez would not be offensive. Indeed, it is possible that the term was intended as an attempt at conciliation and/or to establish rapport”.

      But the experts also say that if Evra’s account of its usage were true, it could be taken as offensive. I point this out quite clearly in my piece.

      3. Sure, they studied the video footage, and reached subjective conclusions on it. I mention this. Take para 243, for example:

      “243. The referee spoke to both players. They listened and then walked away. As they did, Mr Suarez put his hand on the back of Mr Evra’s head. There are, of course, many ways of touching an opposing player with the hand. Some are obvious attempts at conciliation such as a handshake or sometimes a pat on the back. Others are intended to further aggravate the opposing player whilst, perhaps, being made to appear like an attempt at conciliation. In our judgment, Mr Suarez placing his hand on the back of Mr Evra’s head ell into the latter category. It appeared calculated to wind him up and had that effect, which is shown by Mr Evra forcefully pushing Mr Suarez’s arm away.”

      Note how deeply subjective this is. They are saying that even if a gesture “appears” friendly (eg a pat on the head), it might not be. Which is true. But then, by a remarkable logical jump, they conclude that since Evra pushed Suarez’s arm away, it follows that Suarez’s ‘pat on head’ gesture was “calculated to wind him up”. It doesn’t follow at all – *unless* they’ve already accepted the premise that Suarez’s behaviour was acrimonious. This is what I meant in my piece by the term “circular”. It’s circular reasoning.

      4. The point is that if the Spanish for “your sister’s pussy” translates to “fucking hell” in English – then Evra was initating a conversation in Spanish in which certain words/phrases do not have the connotations that they have in English!


      January 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      • 1. Hang on, I said Comolli accepted it as figure of speech, but disputed the context. The report gives both sides of the argument, and then comes to a decision. That is the function of the judging panel. I don’t see why you expect newspapers covering the report to draw attention to something the report itself found to be insignificant, particularly given that it doesn’t alter the substance of Evra’s claim of racial abuse, and that it was in an interview given to a magazine, not in a statement submitted to the FA.

        2. You explicitly quote a section of the report stating that the use of “negro” need not be offensive. You do not quote the sections, for example, stating that some black people in Uruguay do find the term offensive. This does not seem balanced to me.

        3. I’m sorry, but it’s a judging panel. They are *supposed* to form judgements and state clearly where they have done so. If you disagree with their judgement, fine. But what is the problem with newspapers reporting that judgement?

        4. Suarez’ argument regarding the use of “negro” pertained to its use in Uruguay, not its use in Spanish.

        We might draw this to a close now but while your response irons out a few items. I accept you mean well here but I’m afraid I still don’t think you have made your case well.

        Mike Morris

        January 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      • Mike, Comolli clearly says in paragraph 160 that nobody would use “at least ten times” in this context – that’s pretty unequivocal, and at the very least a French language expert should’ve been consulted. It’s just one of those instances where Evra gets the benefit of the doubt at the expense of Suarez.

        And that’s the crux of the matter at hand – reading the media you’d think Evra’s story is fact, yet it isn’t. This is a judgement based on the balance of probabilities, not proof beyond reasonable doubt. So a little more critical thinking wouldn’t go amiss.


        January 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    • Mike. I think the issue that causes most of the issue for Liverpool supporters are the inconsistencies of the report AND the way the press have reported the issue. For example, to pick up on some of your points.
      1. Comolli stated that “ten times” may be a figure of speech. However, Hernandez’s testimony on the use of “negro” was disregarded as he is not an expert witness (para 29). if that is the case, then why is Comolli’s?
      2. The “experts”… I believe there were only 2 of them (not 3). One of which specialises in Columbian culture. For your information – Colombia is c.3,000 miles from Uruguay. That is almost the same as the difference between New York and London (geographically and culturally).

      blah blah

      January 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      • Nail on the head Blah Blah… They picked and chose the bits to suit themselves. It ridiculous!!!!!


        January 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    • Mike your point #4 just illustrates that there is bias in this case.

      The report clearly states that there was an acrimonious argument going on between the players and therefore infers that any action by Suarez should be deemed as “not conciliatory” but “provocative” but in the same context state that Evras’ outburst towards Suarez i.e. “your sisters pussy” (in fact its C**T) should not be treated as provocative.

      How is it possible to defend the actions of one person as positive or at least neutral but condemn another person’s as negative at a time when its suggested that both are engaged in an argument? That seems to me like a logical fallacy.

      If so many people see it that way then the question that needs to be asked is why hasn’t anyone in a media outlet picked up on that and many other examples in the report that appear logically flawed and at least question its logic.

      Is that not the point of this story?


      January 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm

  37. If ever you wanted to know the truth about Suarez and Evra saga and why we as Liverpool support Suarez then u just have to read this. trust Evra at your own peril, he is a cheat and a disappointment in today’s football world

    Andy Adero

    January 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    • How could a man, who uses racial words against another man, complain about being used agiant himself?
      Did any one see this?

      And wasn’t he one of the main culprits who brought down the French soccer to its knees in the WC 2010?

      ***NewFrames edit – I’ve edited link to Youtube video so that it starts at the right place (35m30s). To do this I’ve had to change it to a straight link rather than video embedded on this page, since the start-time wouldn’t work in latter. It shows Patrice Evra using the N****r word, and was originally shown on this Daily Mail page.***


      January 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      • I forgot to add the minute: It’s at the minute 35:30 of the film.


        January 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm

  38. not reading that


    January 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

  39. What more can one say?
    It’s terribly disappointing and such a shame to see how dumb the mainstream journalist are.
    Safe to say that they have sold their soul to the devil.
    It’s all about getting your paper sold and the recognition that comes with it!
    Overwhelming materialistic tendencies have subjugated the will to seek and speak truth.

    Find me a TRUE journalist and It’s definitely the end of the world.

    Muru Arimugan (@elMuru)

    January 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

  40. Mike Morris wrote:
    “I’m not supportive of the report at all. I’m just clarifying what it says, which the original piece did in a very selective way. I don’t comment on it one way or the other.”

    Fair enough. Just one point in what you said that I’d like to clarify – the 3 independent linguistic experts did not say that a “SIGNIFICANT number of black Uruguayans object to its use” (my emphasis).

    Para 169 “In Uruguay…. SOME people who self-identify as black object to the use of the word negro as a term of address…. Others, however, actively claim the term “negro” as a political identity” (my emphasis)(para 200 also refers to this again)

    Also of note is that none of the so-called experts had any background or expertise specifically in Uruguayan Spanish or culture.

    Professor Aldo Mazzucchelli of Brown University Department of Hispanic Studies, a Uruguayan native, stated that Suarez would not have said what the report claims he did. Suarez’s grammar would have been different (see para 181).

    (Link to his Facebook account, as the original piece he wrote on the Suarez case seems to have been taken down: https://www.facebook.com/aldo.mazzucchelli/posts/2698938124695

    Jam Sandwich

    January 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm

  41. Mike Morris writes: “3. I’m sorry, but it’s a judging panel. They are *supposed* to form judgements and state clearly where they have done so. If you disagree with their judgement, fine. But what is the problem with newspapers reporting that judgement?”

    The problem is when subjective judgements (eg formed by accepting one man’s uncorroborated word) are described as “findings of fact” (para 388), and when these “findings” are simply relayed by newspapers. Here’s part of what I wrote in complaint to one Guardian journalist:

    “Of course, the FA-selected panel can use any language it likes to give the impression that one man’s uncorroborated word constitutes “a finding of fact”. But surely it’s a newspaper’s job to distinguish claims about “findings” (no matter how “official” those claims) from findings which the newspaper itself takes to be beyond dispute.

    “To fail to do this (eg with quotes or phrases such as “claims that”) amounts to a kind of “churnalism”.

    “Given the seriousness of this issue (Luis Suarez may be branded a “racist” and “liar” for life as a result of such media coverage), I think a high degree of accuracy and media responsibility is required. I’m currently not seeing that with the Guardian’s coverage.”


    January 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm

  42. @Mike Morris

    “What you are now doing is finding fault with the report. Which is fair enough, even if I don’t agree with your points. However, the piece criticised the newspaper pieces describing the report, not the report itself.

    Look, I’m not arguing the report’s content in detail, as I’ll be here all day. I was just making the point that a piece criticising newspaper coverage of the report gives a pretty distorted account of what the report actually says.”

    I wasn’t giving much though to what I was finding fault with; I was just countering your points.

    The whole point of the piece was to highlight how distorted newspaper coverage of the report was in the first place, no?

    How else is it practical to do that without addressing how the press have reported key points within the report?

    I’m sure somebody else is dissecting and dismantling the report itself and the result will also probably be 115 pages long.


    January 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    • In finding legitimate and relatively obvious “fault” with the Report one is thereby highlighting the incompetence or cowardice of the press in their reporting of and commentary of the entire incident, the Report being an integral part of it.


      January 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm

  43. Simply brilliant! Well done for seeing through all the media hysteria surrounding the Suarez case. Some of the journalists are worse on Twitter than what is being printed.

    Tracy Deacon

    January 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm

  44. Are you a Liverpool fan by any chance?


    January 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm

  45. Excellent article. But there is another inconsistency in Evra’s statement you did not mention. Evra claimed Suarez said “Porque tu eres negro” (“Because you are black”). I am a Spanish speaker from Uruguay and a professional translator. The above Spanish statement is fine for someone from Madrid, but someone from Uruguay, or Argentina for that matter, would never had said that. That’s not the Spanish we use in the River Plate region. If Suarez had said something to the effect of what Evra claimed, he would have said “Porque vos sos negro” or, more likely, simply “Porque sos negro”. It’s as ridiculous to a Spanish speaker as if someone claimed that a New Yorker had greeted him with a “G’day, mate!”

    Jorge turini

    January 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm

  46. Excellent article – such a surprise that the British press hasn’t really read the ‘Suarez vs FA’ report at all…

    Nav Kaplish

    January 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm

  47. Hold on – he referred to a person’s skin colour – which is contrary to FA rules and the culture of this country.
    He admitted to it – the panel, FA and Evra acknowledged that he was not being racist.

    He was duely sanctioned and rightly got a lenghtly ban – we can not say “well because it is custom in another land he should have gotten it easier!” – then where do you draw the line – well in my house as long as I remember my dog has been as black as they come and I thought I’d make the comparison.

    No I am sorry you can tear it all apart and point out inconsistencies – be admitted saying it and was punished for it.

    Jon the boy

    January 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    • You’ve fundamentally misunderstood what Suarez was found guilty of. In fairness, you’re not alone.

      The commission did not find Suarez guilty because he used the word “negro”. They found him guilty because he used the word “negro” in the abusive manner Evra accused him of.

      He was punished according to Evra’s version of events which is where it becomes necessarily to highlight all the inconsistencies. Evra’s testimony is riddled with them.


      January 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      • Actually, according to everyone outside of a few Liverpool supporters, Evra’s evidence is consistent, Saurez’s inconsistent, even being contradicted by his own team mates.

        Seriously, stop it, you’re just embarrassing yourself now.

        Dave R

        January 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    • He said in Spanish, and in Spanish “negro” is a DESCRIPTIVE noun, not an adjective loaded with a negative connotation

      Jorge turini

      January 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      • But in Spanish, if that term is being used in an abusive/derogatory way is has very similar meaning to the English word. And no one but Suarez is claiming it was used in a “friendly” way.

        I’m living in Buenos Aires by the way, so do have some first hand knowledge of this. And the best comparison I heard was using the word “cunt”. I might call my mates a “bunch of c****” in a way that is jokingly friendly, as they are my friends. But the exact same word directed to someone who is not a friend, and the meaning changes. If I call a black South American who I don’t know a “negro” it would be deemed offensive.

        Dave R

        January 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      • @Dave R. Seeing that you are in BA, you will also know “concha” is a term mainly used in Southern South America (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_profanity#Concha_.2F_Chucha_.2F_Chocha). You will also know that the Rio Platense is accent is very distinguishable, so it is not beyond reasonable doubt that Evra’s spanish could have been spoken with said accent. If so, you can also see how LS might have used it.
        And no – you are incorrect. If you went to a stranger in the street and said “Che negro, donde esta el correos”, he would take it as “Hey pal, where’s the post office”

        blah blah

        January 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm

  48. Let me guess, you’re a Liverpool supporter?

    It’s getting embarrassing now, seriously. If Liverpool aren’t going to appeal then accept that Suarez is guilty, that he made a mistake (giving him the benefit of the doubt of that), and move on.

    Liverpool have gone from being a respected club to a laughing stock over one incident.

    DJDave R

    January 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    • The rest of the country is laughing at Liverpool.

      The rest of the world is laughing at England.

      Imagine how farcical the report must read to any Spanish-speaker.


      January 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      • I am a Spanish speaker. The report sounds farcical because the FA does not seem to have understood the Spanish language allegedly used –even though they grounded the verdict on their own interpretation of that very Spanish language.

        Jorge turini

        January 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    • There is no process to appeal the verdict. Only the sentance.

      blah blah

      January 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    • Your stock response when challenged (as per Blah Blah above) is ‘let me guess you are a Liverpool supporter’.
      Let me guess you are not, Man U or Everton i would guess.


      January 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    • DJ Dave, Did you actually read the well written article above or just skip over it to post your inflamatory response?

      NJReds Fan

      January 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm

  49. Let’s face facts here Evra started all this because he feels he has no right to have anyone misjudge a tackle on him . i was sitting in row 9 on the half way line and pretty much from the second minute when Martin Kelly put a hefty but clean challenge on him he just lost the plot . Crying to the reffree hanging on to Suerez for dear life because he could’nt handle him arguing with his own players . Then after Suarez caught him on the knee he totally lost it chasing Suarez around the box dragging him and obviously by his own admission verbally abusing him . What Evra says to Suarez to the best of my knowledge is as seriously offence to a latin american man as is calling a black person the n-word . Suarez didn’t threaten to punch him or lose his cool . No he rightly or wrongly decided on verbals with him . So now a tit for tat squabble between to men breaks out and when then escerlates things are said in the heat of the moment . Evra calls Suarez’s sister a cunt and Suarez replies with negro . It all happens in split seconds . Evra then obviously couldn’t wait to get on camera and tell the world he’d been called a n****r when he hadn’t which goes to prove how little of a man he and his manager are . It was to good an opportunity to inflict damage on Liverpool . This whole situation should been dealt with behind closed doors with both men told to man up and appologise to each other and realise there position and what there actions represent . The end result is now Liverpool’s an Luis Suarez’s reputation damaged by Manchester United starting with a left back who has tried valiantly over the years to get somebody sanctioned for whatever massive chip he carrys on that shoulder of his , and egged on by an overjoyed bitter scotsman and then finished off by a panel of red devils with no other intension but of putting Liverpool and there supporters thru a living hell . Well Man Utd they say what goes around comes around as we only know so well .

    Just a quick mention to about Tom Adeyemi . Now that is disgraceful and makes me feel ashamed . A word to you though Tom . Man up son !! Your a footballer you are going to be abused from the terraces . By all means get angry and point out the perpertrators to the authorities but don’t blub your just going to make yourself a bigger target for idiots . Do what John Barnes and all the other great black players did when they were targets for the mindless . They stuck two fingers up to them by upping there game

    Alan H

    January 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    • Ahh, so crying about being fouled makes it okay to be abused racially? Is that correct?

      Dave R

      January 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      • Lets face facts Suarez was verbally abused first and he has responded with what we all no to be fact . I just believe Evra is as much to blame as Suarez . Abuse is abuse in whatever form it comes and that should be consided . Look were all argueing about two men . one uruguayan and a french men . If it’s not bad enough between Utd and Lpool fans this could cause murder at Anfield and Old Trafford in the coming weeks . This should of been sorted out behind closed doors between the two clubs . Innocent fans could be caught up in trouble thru no fault of there own because of two men on a pitch havin a tit for tat spat

        Alan H

        January 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      • No it never is, you really don’t want to see the point some people are making do you


        January 9, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      • Ok…try calling me “sudaca” or call me south american in a clearly discriminating manner.
        Cause that’s what Evra did…and with the full intention of degrading Suarez for his background.
        Why is Evra not banned, then?

        Santiago Píriz

        January 13, 2012 at 3:08 am

  50. LFC should never have accepted the FA’s decision to ban & fine Suarez. That was the biggest error in this whole mess.
    Its terminally affected Suarez’s chance’s of being a great player for the club.
    He will want to get away as soon as his contract is up, if not sooner.


    January 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    • I don’t think LFC, specifically their lawyer, Mr McCormick, handled or fought the case particularly well.

      Pushing the line that Evra made the whole thing up, as opposed to arguing that he hisheard it, was one error. Had they argued that, in the charged atmosphere of a Liverpool Man U game at Anfield, where Evra is under pressure, both from the LFC players and crowd, he heard and interpreted Suarez’s words as being more hostile and offensive than they were (as evidenced by his initial belief that he’d been called a “n****r”), I think they may have had a case.

      Making Evra out to be an out-and-out liar scuppered that I think, and such an accusation and attitude towards him didn’t reflect well on them.


      Jam Sandwich

      January 9, 2012 at 5:47 pm

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