Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET
Controversial Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez apologized Monday for biting Italian player Giorgio Chiellini in last week’s World Cup soccer game between their two countries.
FIFA, soccer’s governing body, suspended Suarez for nine games and fined him 100,000 Swiss francs (about $112,000) for the act, and banned him from any soccer activity for four months. Uruguay, playing without their star player on Saturday, lost to Colombia in the knockout stage of the World Cup being held in Brazil.
Chiellini himself said he thought the ban was “excessive,” and on Monday, responding to Suarez’s tweet, he tweeted:
Although Suarez appeared contrite in his apology, Uruguayans were firmly behind their beloved player. The country’s president, Jose Mujica, called the punishment handed to Suarez a “fascist ban,” and labeled FIFA “a bunch of old sons of bitches.”
NPR’s Lourdes Garcia Navarro reported last week: “Suarez … grew up in abject poverty and many use that to explain why he’s bitten players three times in his career now. But he’s viewed as a hero in Uruguay.”