Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has found himself at the centre of a racism row after being accused of hurling abuse towards Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during the pair's meeting at Anfield on Saturday. With one party claiming racism and the other categorically denying any wrong doing, it's obviously impossible for outsiders to know one way or another. The truth will probably come out during the FA investigation, but for now, we simply don't know.
But, as Noel Chomyn from the Liverpool Offside has pointed out, Evra has an odd little history of being involved in racism spats. That's not to say that his word isn't to be trusted - after all, he's rarely been the one to come out and accuse people of racism in the past, so saying he's been falsely accusing folks would be misleading - but his background is something to bear in mind when we consider the claims:
In 2006, a pair of deaf Manchester United fans claimed to have lip-read Liverpool’s Steve Finnan targeting Evra with racial abuse. Evra himself would neither confirm nor deny these claims, which led to the case being investigated by the Manchester police who in the end dismissed it as pure nonsense with no grounding in reality. He also rather famously talked before World Cup 2010 about being the target of racist chants from Senegalese supporters who resented him choosing to play for France instead of the nation of his birth, claiming he had been targeted as a "monkey who grovels before the white man." The idea of black supporters targeting a black player for abuse by calling him a monkey seems, at least on the surface, to be rather surreal and more than a touch ridiculous, and in the end no evidence of such chanting was ever found.
The best documented case of Evra and racial abuse, however, comes from 2008, when Manchester United accused a Chelsea groundsman of such in an attempt to have Evra’s four match ban for physically confronting said groundsman overturned. In the end their challenge would be labeled "inconsistent and unreliable," the groundsman would be cleared, and Evra’s four match ban and £15,000 fine would be upheld.
Obviously, even Liverpool fans would like to see Suarez punished if he did indeed make the racist remarks that Evra is accusing him of - that sort of thing is something everyone would like to see stamped out of the game. But they also have every right to be angry if one of their stars is being falsely accused, because if Evra's making this up... well, that would be pretty untoward, to say the least.