Bernard condemns Suarez stance
Ex-Magpies defender believes Reds are 'wrong' to support striker
Last Updated: December 22, 2011 5:19pm
Luis Suarez: Fined and banned for eight matches by the FA, but Liverpool may appeal
Former Newcastle defender and Show Racism the Red Card campaigner Olivier Bernard has condemned Liverpool's reaction to Luis Suarez's ban.
The Uruguayan striker was fined £40,000 and banned for eight games by the Football Association on Monday for allegedly racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
Liverpool have expressed their surprise at the decision and have vowed to help their star striker clear his name.
The Reds squad showed their support for their team-mate on Wednesday by releasing a joint statement ahead of their Premier League clash with Wigan and wearing Suarez t-shirts during their warm-up at the DW Stadium.
Bernard feels Kenny Dalglish's side should have just accepted the FA ruling, with it important to show a united front in the fight against racism in sport and the wider society.
"I really didn't think it was fine to wear the t-shirt," the Frenchman told Sky Sports News HD.
"I can understand the club's side of it, but in society we can't accept racism and give support to a player who has used racist words. I just think it is a bit wrong."
Bernard's work with the Show Racism the Red Card campaign involves him working with youngsters and he believes Liverpool's stance has sent out the wrong message to the stars of tomorrow.
He said: "It made it allowed for everybody to use racist words and it will be okay. It's not okay to use racist language and the message they sent out yesterday was a bit wrong.
"I don't mind them giving support to Mr Suarez, but I just think it's a bit wrong to wear the t-shirt because that means they have allowed racist language. I just don't understand it."
Asked what Liverpool should have done, Bernard added: "Probably accept it, accept that the player used a racist word. That would make everybody understand that Luis Suarez is not a racist person, but he did use a racist word and he should be punished. That should then be the end of it."
The FA have made ridding the English game of racist behaviour a top priority and Bernard feels they have taken the right course of action in punishing Suarez.
He said: "What the FA have done is make a real point that racism has no place in England and no place in football and no place in our society. I think they have made that clear and I'm pretty happy with their decision."