Steven speaks to Darren Lewis the Mirror Sport football writer and the World Cup team on BBC Radio London
Steven comes into the discussion and says, “I think the first thing to say is that this is not a football issue, this is a human issue. This is someone who had a catastrophic episode in his life where the culmination of stress has made him default into unsavoury behaviour.”
“Can he be helped?”
“He can be helped but you know Liverpool have tried but there needs to be a long term solution in place that can really focus on understanding why he would hit the derail button in this manner. What are the circumstances within him, below the surface that leads him to act in this manner?”
“So it’s finding the triggers and then is it a case of trying to counteract them before they lead into this behaviour in the future?”
“Yes it’s absolutely that! It’s about him being willing and committed to taking a deep look at himself. He’s in complete denial about what’s going on and until he accepts there is a human element of rage behaviour that is deviant and needs to be addressed through absolute care and support whilst he’s being punished then we’ve got a situation that will never be resolved.
You don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, he might play for Liverpool, he might move to a different club but the same historical ‘resort to default’ will come in when the match context builds up and the players antagonise him. He resorts to this default behaviour and lashes out. His form of lashing out is to bite and the argument is, he’s probably had a history of lashing out in that form. Brendan Rogers alluded to the fact that he’d come from an impoverished background where violence was the norm. He’s probably had loads of transitions and a pressure on him to move his family and his support network all over the world wherever he goes. He’s been immersed in high level football from a very young age and that’s been his way out of poverty and a way out of conflict. You can’t take the street element out of him unless a long term stable plan is put in place to take care of him.”
“Is this an opportunity for Luis Suarez to accept there’s an issue?”
“It’s his willingness and commitment to self-correct this deviant behaviour. But the issue is the culture of football. It’s all about big business. We’re prepared to gloss over issues of immoral behaviour because the money in the game means that people will do almost anything to keep that prized possession operating. So all that does, is perpetuate a culture of denial which is what we’re seeing from the Uruguayan Federation. It’s what we’re seeing from wholesale football, that when things go wrong there’s no moral code and we need that for our young people.
Yes he needs to be punished. The ‘severity’ discussion to me is a smokescreen. The real issue is the cause and effect as to why the system of global football can perpetuate a young man who can commit such an act three times. It’s all of our responsibility to say ‘hold on Uruguayan Federation, you need to do something about this!’ Liverpool have tried to do something about it, but we all need to do something. You can’t have it disjointed. We all need to increase our love of the game on more of a moral code.
I think one of the problems is, we’re looking at this from a very individual basis and it’s too interdependent on the entire system. He coach, his club, a lot of people are intervening into who he is and he’s not getting any encouragement in ‘self reflecting’ because he’s a money making machine for a lot of people. Because of that we can’t get to the cause and effect of his behaviour, if we can’t get to the cause and effect then how does he get there on his own? If the Uruguayan Federation is saying one thing and the world governing body of football is saying another, how on earth with this level of misalignment at the highest echelons of the game is he going to resolve his issues further down the food chain.”