Luis Suarez being allowed to hide behind the ‘flawed genius’ tag 2

“Flawed genius”.

I hate the term; it’s a grandiose way to describe someone who uses their talent as an excuse for their personality.  It suggests that a higher tolerance should be afforded to them on the basis of what they do in another part of their life.

I especially hate the term when it’s being applied to Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan isn’t a flawed genius, he’s just a very good footballer who also happens to be chronically immature.  Suarez has repeatedly found himself in a indefensible position during his career yet, in every instance, he’s been part-excused by apologists proffering asterisk after asterisk.

As many excellent articles have pointed out since the Italy game, those who indulge Suarez are really just enablers who are unwittingly complicit in the player’s indiscretions. There always seems to be someone willing to give him a second chance or a whole queue of people lining up to tell you that his behaviour really isn’t as bad as it quite obviously is.

Kenny Dalglish wrote on this topic in The Mirror this morning and, yet again, the Scot did a fine job of taking away his ex-player’s personal responsibility.  Suarez has a troubled mind, we’re told, he isn’t really in control of his actions - in fact, until he’s afforded extensive psychological rehabilitation he really shouldn’t be treated too harshly.

Ask yourself this: would all these excuses be made for a less talented player?  If Glen Johnson had done the same thing, would the same pleas for patience exist?  Would the same references to a troubled childhood be used again and again?  No; instead you’d just hear exasperated sighs and see a long line of people shaking their heads.

“Bollocks to him”, they’d say, “if he can’t reach the required level of maturity then that’s really his problem.”

And they’d be right.

We’re almost at a stage with Suarez where it’s implied that it’s the game’s responsibility to fix him.  Liverpool ‘should be doing more’ or Uruguay ‘aren’t doing him any favours’.  I agree with that viewpoint, but I’m still uncomfortable with the notion of any collective responsibility - just as we don’t want to hear one-eyed Dalglish types making excuses for him, we also shouldn’t encourage anybody to do or say anything which blurs the lines of personal accountability.

Suarez has been turned into a victim, which is a problem, but then so is this false-narrative around him that claims that he is in someway helpless against his own ‘demons’.  We’re trying to turn him into Stan Collymore - i.e. a player who behaves atrociously throughout his career but who, without showing any contrition at all, is allowed a free-pass by way of a blanket excuse.  Collymore beat women because he was depressed, Suarez bites and racially-abuses opponents he’s at the mercy of his lack of control.  It’s weak, and it’s not a defence that any normal member of society would be allowed to get away with.  Mitigating factors are valid, but allowing an individual to believe that he was a completely involuntary participant in his own behaviour is a nonsense.  Bad childhoods, depression, addiction…these issues warrant sympathy and understanding, but that has to stop short of unquestioning absolution.

Luis Suarez needs to take his ban on the chin.  Feeding him into a rehabilitation program and then allowing him to emerge with an ‘all-better, that was different person before’ mentality will do him no good whatsoever - unless, of course, it’s accompanied by his realisation that the game does not need him.  Football does not owe Luis Suarez a second, third or fourth chance and it will exist just fine without him and the sport really shouldn’t be over-extending itself to help him.

This isn’t Liverpool’s problem to fix, it’s Luis Suarez’s.  He has all the resources in the world to fund treatment if he needs it, but the onus has to come from him in this situation and he must accept both what he is and what the consequences of his actions actually are.

Until that point occurs, the game’s governing bodies must keep punishing him more and more brutally.  It is, for want of a better phrase, the only way he’ll learn.

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