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The trials of John Henry

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  February 12, 2012 03:03 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox will start to gather in force here this week leading up pitchers and catchers officially reporting next Sunday. Meanwhile, over in England, John Henry is dealing with an issue that makes the fried chicken and beer "scandal" of last fall look laughable by comparison.

One of Liverpool's players, Luis Suárez, was suspended earlier this season for allegedly making racist remarks to a Manchester United player, Patrice Evra.

Then yesterday, when the two met on the field again, Suarez refused to shake hands with Evra and there was more turmoil.

Suárez apologized today. But there are calls for Henry to step in and solve a "festering mess."

This would be akin to one of the Red Sox making racist remarks to one of the Yankees. You can imagine the furor that would cause.

This incident begs the question of whether Henry is stretched too thin owning two high-profile teams on different continents.

Not financially, but physically.

The Red Sox are a team in transition. There's a new GM, a new manager, a bunch of new players and a bunch of old underachievers who haven't won a playoff game since 2008. Henry attends a lot of games but is he wired in? Based on his comments after last season, he was unaware of some of the things going on.

The owner of a large business shouldn't be intimately involved in every detail of the operation. That's why you have people like Larry Lucchino, Sam Kennedy and Ben Cherington. But the Red Sox are at a point where they need their owner to crack a few heads.

The same seems to be true with Liverpool. I couldn't begin to tell you the first thing about how the team is playing. But when one of the players presents the image of being an unsportsmanlike racist, something need to be done.

In the end, it falls to Henry on both shores and a lot of passionate fans will be watching.

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