LIVERPOOL manager Kenny Dalglish and his players have been widely condemned for wearing T-shirts in an attempt to show their support for striker Luis Suarez ahead of Wednesday’s goalless draw against Wigan.
Uruguay international Suarez (right) was banned for eight matches by the Football Association on Tuesday after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
Liverpool, who have confirmed they intend to appeal and risk seeing the suspension lengthened should the FA deem their claim to be frivolous, have protested Suarez’s innocence ever since the incident came to light following October’s 1-1 draw against the champions at Anfield.
But the controversial T-shirts provoked criticism that the gesture conflicted with football’s anti-racism campaign Kick It Out, confusing its zero tolerance message.
The former Manchester United defender Paul McGrath branded Liverpool’s public display of camaraderie as “shameful” and said he would have thrown the shirt to the floor if he was Suarez’s team-mate Glen Johnson.
“There are a lot of children that watch these games and to have done what they did last night, doing their warm-up in T-shirts with his smiling face on it, having just been done for a supposedly racist comment to one of his opponents, is shameful for football,” he said. “If I was in Glen Johnson’s situation, I’d have thrown the shirt to the floor. If that had been someone in my time and I’d heard the comments or I’d even suspect he was guilty, and obviously there has been a tribunal, then I would not wear a T-shirt with his name, saying all is well and good.”
Johnson responded by reiterating his support for Suarez last night, writing on Twitter: “I will support who I want when i want! There are a lot of reasons why I’m standing by Luis Suarez.”
Meanwhile, Match of the Day pundit, and former Liverpool defender, Alan Hansen was forced to apologise yesterday after describing black players as “coloured” when discussing the current John Terry and Suarez racism cases on Wednesday’s show.