Suarez shamed World Cup
Uruguayan's brutish behaviour threatens to leave a bad aftertaste
Luis Suarez has shamed the tournament. That's the unforgivable sin that stings the most.
His temperament has long gnawed away at this talent; like a psychological cross he must bear in return for his priceless gifts.
But that's his problem. He pays a personal price each time he exorcises his demons and his latest indiscretion is likely to be his costliest yet.
The third bite goes deepest because it has infected one of the purest World Cups in recent memory.
Argentina's infighting marred an already poor Italia 90; Diego Maradona's positive drug test struggled to sour the average fare of 1994 and Zinedine Zidane's head-butt was arguably the only memorable highlight of a negative tournament in 2006.
But Suarez has left an indelible stain on the most flawless of sporting spectacles. Vibrancy has reigned in Brazil. The cities have exploded in colour as the pre-tournament concerns gave way to a collective, almost subconscious, desire to get this one right.
Fifa's corporate shenanigans have failed to filter down to the pitch. Brazil's questionable infrastructure and incomplete stadia have compromised neither the atmosphere nor the artistry.
Positivity reigned. Dutch courage was matched by those Teutonic terrors, which in turn was equalled by the swashbuckling South Americans and the committed Costa Ricans.
Neymar, Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema, Thomas Mueller and even Cristiano Ronaldo succeeded where their fashionable forebears succumbed; a constellation of stars has finally sparkled at a World Cup.
Boy's own stuff has brought out the child in all of us. We believed in the Beautiful Game again because so many games were beautiful. The World Cup had inadvertently stumbled upon its most precious commodity: dignity.
And one foolish, puerile contemptible act from the unreformed recidivist threatens to puncture the tournament's global goodwill.
The red marks left on Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder go so much deeper. They undermine the extraordinary achievement of a celebrating nation.
Uruguayan fans have been an infectious delight in Brazil. In the chilly Sao Paulo air, they silenced the English and warmed the soul. They jigged their way to victory, dancing in the moonlight long after the final whistle.
Their population barely reaches 3.4 million people - smaller than Singapore - but their eagerness to make their presence felt has been endorsed and supported by Oscar Tabarez.
A respected, dignified, patient gentleman in press conferences, the coach doesn't deserve this, nor does anyone in La Celeste's dressing room.
But the Brazilian event itself remains the most innocent of victims.
Suarez's repugnant act is one of violation; it penetrates the World Cup's beauty and leaves an unsightly scar. The tournament is now two-faced. It's breathtaking and brutish, attractive and ugly.
For two weeks, the World Cup has exhibited the Beautiful Game in all its glory; the sport that once visited our childhood dreams suddenly appeared in our living rooms.
Suarez forced us to face reality.
That wasn't his intention. His game plan isn't so far-sighted. He thinks only in the first person. In such moments, his world revolves round Suarez. He tried to gain an inch on Chiellini. He didn't get it. So he took a chunk.
He behaved like a child and will be reprimanded accordingly, ordered by the Fifa headmasters to sit on the naughty step for an indeterminate period.
His previous misdemeanours against Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic and PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal will be taken into consideration. He is a recalcitrant offender and a reluctant apologist. He will get what's coming to him.
There's no sympathy for the devilish South American. His animalistic attack has left the World Cup with an open wound.
Time is a great healer, but so is talent. Football can overcome.