The sponsor's reproach highlights how the player and Liverpool could suffer commercially because of his poor behaviour
Adidas has taken the unusual step of condemning Luis Suárez, who has a boot deal with the company, in a sign of the potential negative commercial repercussions of the striker's latest onfield indiscretion.
Major brands tend to shy away from criticising their charges in the immediate aftermath of controversial incidents but the sportswear company took the unusual step of issuing a strongly worded statement on Monday in the wake of Suárez's apology for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic. "Adidas takes this type of incident very seriously and does not condone Luis Suárez's behaviour," it said.
"We will be reminding him of the standards we expect from our players. Luis has admitted his actions were unacceptable and we support the way Liverpool are planning to handle the situation."
Notoriety is sometimes encouraged by sponsors – see Nike's playful treatment of Eric Cantona's return from his ban after assaulting a Crystal Palace fan – but Suárez seems to have gone well beyond that.
Adidas is no longer Liverpool's kit supplier but its stance is indicative of the likely impact on the player's personal brand and the danger of it having wider implications for Liverpool's commercial strategy.
Shortly after being promoted to managing director by the Liverpool's then new owner, Ian Ayre gave an interview to Management Today magazine. Not the usual platform for ambitious football executives, perhaps, but Ayre wanted to emphasise the extent to which he was planning to use the club's history and ongoing appeal overseas to revive commercial fortunes.
"Someone said to me recently that if you take a club like Man United, people either love them or hate them – it's the Marmite effect. But with Liverpool we're more like everyone's second favourite team," he told the magazine. "So when you're responsible for selling and marketing the brand, you've got to keep that in mind. Part of our attraction is that we're not confrontational."
Deals such as those with the club's shirt sponsor, Standard Chartered, which pays £20m a season, and kit manufacturer Warrior, which pays £25m a year, show that the club's global reach and perceived values have enabled them to continue to pull in big sponsorship deals despite underperformance on the pitch.
Their annual commercial income of £80.2m remains third, behind only Manchester United and Manchester City (the latter boosted by its deal with Etihad).
It was partly the "Liverpool way" that attracted John Henry and his Fenway Sports Group to Anfield in the first place in 2010, after Tom Hicks and George Gillett were obliged to sell up. Those same FSG executives looked on, as if unsure when and how to intervene, as the club made a hash of their handling of Patrice Evra's complaint of racism against Suárez – backing the player to the hilt even after he was found guilty by a thorough and nuanced FA disciplinary panel report.
It was only when the controversy over the affair reached the pages of the New York Times and Boston Globe, amid rumours that a worried Standard Chartered had intervened, that Henry and the chairman, Tom Werner, insisted on change of approach. By contrast, the banking company that is emblazoned on the front of Liverpool's shirts praised the club for dealing with the last 24 hours "appropriately and swiftly".
If those lessons appeared to have been learned in PR terms, judging from the swift condemnatory response issued on Sunday and the speedy fine administered on Monday morning, there is still the danger of lasting damage to the Liverpool brand.
Given the lack of trophies in recent years, in some ways the Liverpool commercial model is even more reliant than others on its image. Having built up a large overseas fanbase in the 1970s and 1980s, many years before top European clubs started seriously trying to "monetise" their brand abroad, Liverpool had a natural inbuilt advantage over the likes of Chelsea and City.
In that same Management Today interview, Ayre was clear as to why that feelgood aura matters and the benefits it brings. "I think the thing about Liverpool is the sense of inclusiveness, going right back to the socialist ideals of [Bill] Shankly, if you like – the idea that we're all in this together, that we look after each other," he said.
"There have been lots of examples of that over the years, and I think over the years that's resonated outwards. I've spent a lot of time in Asia, and it mirrors the values in a lot of Asian countries – it's about family, about looking after and having respect for each other."
It's not clear how racism, cheating and sinking your teeth into an opponent's arm fit into that wholesome vision. Nor could the biting incident have come at a more inappropriate time, set as it was against the backdrop of an intensely moving tribute to the Hillsborough campaigner, Anne Williams, and the raw emotion of the bombing of the marathon in Boston, where FSG is based.
Part of the Fenway model, predicated on the introduction of Financial Fair Play making football a potentially profitable business and applying its US knowhow to leverage Liverpool's commercial value around the world, also involves growing the club in the States. As well as Asia and the Far East, the US is increasingly seen by the big Premier League clubs as a major engine of growth. NBC last week announced its bold plan to broadcast every single Premier League match live, including 20 on network television.
Suárez sinking his teeth into an opponent does not undermine at a stroke all of Liverpool's carefully nurtured history and iconography, nor does it undermine the push into new markets around the world or the commercial model painstakingly constructed by Ayre. On its own, it is simply one of those flashpoints that combine to fuel the great Premier League soap opera.
But the big worry for FSG and for Ayre is of a drip, drip effect. On top of the other controversies involving the Uruguayan, a player who should be among the club's biggest commercial assets has long since become a potential liability – off the field as well as on it.