THE decision by Liverpool FC players to wear T-shirts in support of Luis Suarez has been described as “shameful” by former Manchester United defender Paul McGrath.
Kenny Dalglish’s squad warmed up for Wednesday’s game at Wigan in shirts featuring a picture of the Uruguayan on the front and his name and number on the back.
The show of solidarity came after Suarez was handed an eight-match ban and fined £40,000 by the FA for racially abusing Patrice Evra.
“Maybe Kenny is trying to make a statement to the FA but I just think it is in bad taste that he sent them out in those T-shirts,” McGrath said.
“It would have been much better for Liverpool Football Club if they had have worn anti-racism shirts.
“It’s about respect. There’s this issue going on about respecting your opponents. It is actually a game. The game itself has gone too big, it’s about winning and the money.
“The actual element of football being a game has long since gone, it is all about protecting your interest, protecting your best players.
“There are a lot of children that watch these games and to have done what they did, 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. It puts the anti-racism campaign back to the beginning as far as I’m concerned.
“If I was in Glen Johnson’s situation, I’d have thrown the shirt to the floor.”
Blackburn Rovers striker Jason Roberts also criticised Liverpool’s decision to wear the T-shirts.
He tweeted: “The stance on the Suarez issue from LFC has bemused me...are United going to print Evra shirts now????? Some issues are bigger than football.”
However, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insisted: “I think the boys showed their respect and admiration for Luis with wearing the T-shirts.
“It is a great reflection of the man as a character, a person and a footballer that the boys have been so supportive and so have the supporters
“He has earned that, has deserves it and we will always stand beside him.”