The reported causes for “Shakegate” will more than likely measure by the ream. The solution to it fits into one phrase: start winning.
Saurez has apologized. Whether or not the owners/jersey sponsors/ assistant groundskeeper’s daughter’s dead-channeling Cabbage Patch Kid was the one that prompted its release doesn’t matter. It’s been said. We can leave it to those that get paid by the word to squeeze the last morsel out of its sincerity or its source. Now it’s back to football. Where it should’ve stayed.
There are calls for Liverpool to stand by their beleaguered number seven. And they should. The best way they can do it is to start playing better football and winning games. They have the opportunity to show team solidarity and use this incident as a spur for the last 3 months of the season.
There are also calls for Luis Saurez’s head. Most notably, Sir Alex Ferguson. Ironic really. Because if he heeded his own advice for getting rid of disrespectful malcontents of low moral character, he might find himself short half a team. So let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water just yet – no matter how much dirt might be on it.
Saurez doesn’t have the corner on the bad boy of sports. A few of those ones currently slinging mud have spent some time on that very same corner. Granted, if he keeps it up, he could be in contention. So it comes down to abiding by the unwritten rule of exorcising athletic demons – win. A lot. And stop doing stupid shit. But that’s more understood than written.
By keeping his head down, getting back to business and putting the ball in the net (which he did against Man U, P.S.) he’ll be back to grabbing headlines on the Sports page, not the Front page.
By helping the team get back to winning ways, and maintaining a low profile, he has the opportunity to muzzle his critics. Once the front page feeding frenzy ends, so will the scrutiny and journalists will be left choking on headlines like: Saurez Brace Lifts Reds to Another Victory.
Of course there is the chance that the Daily Mirror-esque “exclusives” have some credibility – cough – and Luis could be on his way out, but let’s hope that his actions from here on out reflect his words and he proves the support that his teammates, bosses and most importantly the crest have shown him wasn’t misplaced.
I’m not expecting him start going to church every Sunday and rake the leaves at Mrs. Anderson’s house on Wednesday afternoons. I don’t even see a montage with a snappy single showing him “working hard for his money” but I sincerely hope that he takes this as lesson learned no matter where his career takes him and he becomes a model professional.
So in closing: Luis, please, no hands, no fingers, no teeth and definitely no sweet nothings in anyone except Mrs. Saurez’s delicate ears. Score more, dive less, shake on it and we’ll see you in the sports pages.