Belfast Telegraph

'We made a massive mistake': Jamie Carragher apologises to Patrice Evra over Luis Suarez racism row and admits Liverpool got it wrong

Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra
Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra

By Kevin Palmer

Jamie Carragher has issued a heartfelt apology to Patrice Evra for Liverpool's decision to wear t-shirts supporting Luis Suarez after he was banned for racially abusing the Manchester United defender in 2011.

In one of the more infamous incidents seen in the Premier League, Liverpool striker Suarez was handed an eight-game ban after he was found guilty of using racist language in a confrontation with Evra.

The reaction of the Liverpool dressing room at the time was to support Suarez, with the squad all wearing t-shirts confirming their backing for the Uruguayan ahead of their game at Wigan.

Yet as a reflective Carragher shared the Sky Sports Monday Night Football studio with Evra, he used the moment to express his regret over the way he and his team-mates backed Suarez and added to the controversy surrounding the clash.

"There is no doubt we made a massive mistake, that was obvious," conceded Carragher.

"We got to the ground, had our lunch and then had a team meeting - I don't know if it was the manager (Kenny Dalglish) or (coach) Steve Clarke - asking one of the players if he was still wearing the shirt and that is the first I had heard of it.

"I am lying and saying I wasn't part of it because as the club we got it wrong and I was vice-captain. I am not sure who was actually behind it. I don't think it had anything to do with the manager Kenny, I think it was the players who were close to Luis in the dressing room who really wanted to support their mate.

"Maybe I have to look at myself now and say I did not have the courage as an individual to say 'I am not wearing it'. I don't think everyone within Liverpool Football Club thought what we were doing was right but I do think as a football club or you as a family, your first reaction is to support them even if you know that they are wrong and that is wrong.

"Apologies, we got it massively wrong. I didn't have enough courage to say 'I'm not wearing it'."

Evra confirmed he was infuriated by the Liverpool players wearing the tee-shirts, as he offered up his first comments on the incident eight years later.

"I watched the Liverpool players wearing t-shirts and I'm thinking 'this is ridiculous. It's unbelievable'," said Evra. "Even for the club, you put your own club into danger when you do those sorts of things.

"Which message do you send to the world when you do that, but I never go to the court and said Luis Suarez is a racist because he used some racist words.

"I never wanted him banned. I wanted him to be educated. Send him to Africa to meet with children and understand more. That is better than a fine or a ban.

"Even if you fine someone he won't care. It's about education. Doing something like sending him to Africa, helping the kids and see we are all the same. I just want to be the best human being I can. I'm not perfect."

Evra went on to admit the furore around Suarez's refusal to shake his hand in the next United v Liverpool game added to the animosity around the incident, as he suggested he was ready to forgive and forget.

"'It was unbelievable. All the week, people asking are you going to shake his hand? I was frustrated, I wanted people to talk about the game," he added.

"My Mum asked me and I said 'Mummy I say I'm someone who will forgive, I will shake his hand no matter what' and he made a mistake - I won't go on holiday with him.

"When he didn't I was like "what's wrong with that guy, he makes himself worse". I'm feeling sad for him."

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