It wouldn't be Liverpool if there wasn't a controversy surrounding the club, and this week's latest "event most likely to lead to an apology" comes thanks to Suso's recent homophobic gay slur Twitter outburst.
It all kicked off when, in response to news that Jose Enrique was getting his teeth whitened, Suso did what the kids these days do and used Twitter as a platform to air his carefully considered musings as to whether his teammate might be a little too concerned with his personal appearance if you know what I mean not that there's anything wrong with that. Either that or he was suggesting his fellow Spaniard was lighthearted, happy, and carefree. But probably the former.
Now, the FA has fined Suso £10k for the manner in which he "brought the game into disrepute in that the comment was posted on his Twitter account and included a reference to a person's sexual orientation." As a result of their heroic actions, homophobia has now been solved in England, and there have been widespread reports of hearty back-slapping and the occasional toasting of a job well done by all involved at the FA's Wembley offices.
Either that or it's the sort of disproportionate response that isn't in any way concerned with righting a wrong or making the world a better place or any other such high-minded twaddle and that moreover won't change how a single person thinks moving forward. Either that or it's the sort of showy fine for a relatively minor offense that's really only concerned with sending a message.
And not even a message delivered for the benefit of other potential perpetrators who might unthinkingly call a teammate an insensitive term in an offhand manner. When you get right down to it, it's a response from the FA that's mainly concerned with sending a message to people who are desperate to see that a message be sent. It's a message for the media busybodies and self appointed protectors of all that is good who like to cry that something must be done to curb this latest evil but are in the end only really concerned by how much they can sensationalise said latest evil because sensational sells.
Should a professional athlete be engaging in a you like Coldplay conversation in a public form? Of course not. Yet it's hard to imagine any especially nasty intent behind Suso's Tweet, and so the FA's enthusiastic response would seem to do little aside from ensuring that the world sees that they take it very seriously when a player Tweets the word "gay"— even if in context it was something said in an thoughtlessly insensitive but not otherwise inflammatory or insulting manner.
Meanwhile, the response from the media's defenders of all that is good and just in the world has been predictably overblown, full of faux moral outrage and led by headlines shamelessly seizing on the chance to throw about phrases like "gay slur," "homophobic outburst," and even, somehow, "racist tweet," since a Liverpool player can't be involved in an offence against the public morality without there being racial undertones or overtones or sepia tones even if there really aren't.
At the end of the day, all the FA really cares about is looking as though they're doing something while all the vast majority of those passing comment are interested in is selling controversy. And in the end, it also provides further confirmation of an unfortunate and widespread belief that suggests if everybody shuts up and doesn't ever say anything anyone might consider rude or insulting it will magically make the world a better place ruled by tolerance and acceptance.
This is a case where more real and lasting good would have been done through education, by someone sitting Suso down and explaining why what he did was wrong rather than by handing out a showy, overzealous wrist-slap. Though of course that assumes anyone at the FA involved in the ruling is actually be capable of explaining why what Suso did was wrong using anything more insightful than a five-year-old's "because."
That Suso shouldn't have said what he said is hard to argue. Yet it's just as hard to argue that the response by the FA and by many in the media to a silly and childish comment delivered without malice is anything other than another case of a lot of people wanting to tell themselves they're doing good when in fact they've done nothing of the sort—and when underneath their claims of altruism they're really only motivated by various forms of self-interest.