More Than He Can Chew

Sunday, 29 June 2014 - 6:10am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Following the recent teething trouble of Luis Suarez's, Malavika Sangghvi sinks her teeth into a letter

Dear Mr Suarez,

I wonder if you feel you've bitten off more than you can chew with the latest incident involving your pearly whites and a certain shoulder belonging to Giorgio Chiellini.

That incident, taking place as it did during a crucial match of the World Cup between Uruguay and Italy has to put it gently, set the world's teeth on edge because it has demonstrated once again how you like to sink your teeth into the game you play.

After all, this is not the first time you've been accused of 'biting' a fellow player during a game Mr Suarez. Earlier, there have been noted demonstrations of your penchant for fighting tooth and nail to win, like the incident involving Branislav Ivanovic that occurred a few years ago, and another with Otman Bakkal amongst a few others, earning you the sobriquets 'Dracula' and 'Cannibal'.

Of course, your enthusiasm for biting the bullet is part of a long and colourful history of sporting love-bites: Alex Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron, in Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final; Marc Savard was accused of biting Philadelphia's Daniel Carcillo in the second period of Game 2 of the Bruins-Flyers playoff series in 2010; Tree Rollins bit Danny Ainge during a fight in a 1983 Celtics-Hawks playoff game, (giving rise to the piquant headline 'Tree bites Man'); Jarrko Ruutu bit Andrew Peters in a Senators-Sabres game in 2009; and in 2010 Arron Asham accuses Matt Cooke of biting.

But of course the Rolls Royce of biting, the very acme of the art of biting the bullet, perhaps the most famous sports bite of them all, occurred when Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield during their 1997 heavyweight fight in Las Vegas, which means you still have a long way to go in your teething career.

The thing about your preferred tactic of getting under your opponents skin is of course that a tooth for a tooth tends to set people's teeth on edge and give rise to a Twitter universe of sound bytes as you might have noticed after the incident with Chiellini.

You were the trending topic, the subject of discussion and football fans who cared about the ethics and fairness of the beautiful game, bit back with their disapproval.

It was also said (unfairly in my opinion) that in your case there was a history of biting the hand that fed you. Your acrimonious and highly public wrangling with your Club Liverpool, especially with its manager Brendan Rodgers and the many public declarations you had made of your unhappiness with the team that paid £22.8 million to get you are part of football lore.

Why have you allowed your bad behaviour to come in the way of your success, Mr Suarez? Why are you following a path that could result in all your dreams of glory biting the dust? Some say your childhood was spent in poverty, your years spent away from home and your frustrations adjusting to foreign climes have added to your aggression. Others believe that your hunger to win, blinds you to everything else and propels you to fight tooth and nail for victory.

Whatever be the case, your many fans are hoping that your recent teething troubles do not mar your career permanently.

As for the matter of whether you actually did sink your teeth in to poor Giorgio Chiellini's hapless shoulder: we await the tooth, the tooth and nothing but the tooth!

Take care and my advice to you is that every time you feel your aggression rising, count to ten and, well … bite your tongue.

Yours sincerely etc,

Malavika Sangghvi can be contacted at

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