‘The bite’ makes World Cup watchable

Jennie McNulty columnBY JENNIE MCNULTY

I love sports. I have played most of them. Sports are the thing most often on my TV. My partner loves them, too. In fact, here’s a typical Sunday at my house during the NFL season: We bring an extra TV into the living room and, with an extra 100 feet of cable attached to the box in the front office, we have her NY Giants on one TV and my Detroit Lions on the other (the team with the better record gets the bigger TV, by the way, the first game of season we play each other so look for my break-up article in September).

And, of course, I am watching this year’s World Cup. Sort of — but it’s been hard for me to really get into. I’ve played the game. I know and like the game — to play, just not to watch. I don’t know if it’s the pace or the lack of scoring or that they feign injury like there’s a personal injury attorney watching, but I can’t seem to get into it as much as other sports.

I appreciate how much it means to other countries. The US Women’s World Cup in 1999 was amazing and I’ll never forget how excited I was to see the Rose Bowl filled to capacity with people watching a women’s sporting event. However, this year, I don’t know, World Cup, I’m just not that into you.

But, wait, stop the presses! Luis Suarez, a forward on the Uruguay national team, allegedly bit one of the opposing Italian players on the shoulder during their World Cup match. That is correct, bit. And, it’s the third time in his career he’s been accused of that. He has even been given the nickname “The Cannibal.” This guy knows how to make things exciting. The game was in its 80th scoreless minute until then and Uruguay scored a minute later. That’s exciting. I can see it now, Luis Suarez stars in “Silence of the Keeper.”

The guy he bit (Giorgio Chiellini) kept pulling down his sleeve showing everyone the bite mark trying to get sympathy or, perhaps, a red card. (In case you’re not familiar with the rules, that’s how they punish people in soccer — when you screw up they give you a yellow or red card. I think Hallmark makes them.)

Suarez did not, however, receive a card or penalty from the referee — perhaps, because he didn’t use his hands. Futbol aficionados around the globe are calling for fines or suspension, but I say, not so fast.

Was it really that bad? He didn’t draw much blood. It’s not like he went all Mike Tyson on him and bit off an ear. It was just a little nibble. Just his way of saying “Hi” — you know how those foreigners are always kissing on the cheeks. Or, maybe it was in honor of the start of the final season of “True Blood.”

They’re being too hard on the guy. Suarez bit a moving target. That’s gotta hurt. He gave one for the team. He could have chipped a tooth on that guy’s deltoid. That’s just dedication. The announcers covering the game weren’t too upset. “Oh, dear, dear dear,” they said. “It looks to me, dare I say it, that he’s had a little bite at Chiellini.”

See? They said “little.” Just because Lovebite Luis reacted like a 4 year old doesn’t mean he didn’t have a plan. He was doing it for the ratings. Honestly, did you care about the Uruguay-Italy match before that? No. But now, when Chompers Suarez is on the pitch, Americans will be watching. They might even learn what a pitch is.

In fact, maybe we should try this for other lower rated TV shows. I know I should know more about the political goings on in our country but on Sunday mornings I just can’t “Face the Nation” when “NFL Countdown” is on. If George Stephanopoulos just reached over and took a bite out of George Will when he disagreed with him? I might tune in. Or, how about full-contact presidential debates this fall? Let’s see if Hillary really is a ball buster.

Jennie McNulty was named one of Curve magazine’s Top 10 lesbian comedians. She can be heard weekly as co-host of LA Talk Radio‘s “Cathy Is In: The Cathy DeBuono Show.”

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