I’ve recently abandoned blogging for columning, and the formatting of such is a significantly better way to engage without spending hours reviewing and writing 2000 words.
The footballing world is divided as convicted rapist Ched Evans has been released from prison. The ex-Sheffield United striker has served two-and-a-half years of a five year sentence and left HM Prison Wymott at 05:00 on 17th October 2014.
Here’s the facts:
– Ched Evans played for Sheffield United, used to play for Manchester City.
– Evans was found guilty of rape on 20th April 2012
– The victim, 19, was found by the court-hearing as being “too drunk to give consent”
– Evans was sentenced to five years imprisonment and eligible to leave after serving half
– Evans has never pleaded guilty and continues to maintain his innocence
I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a judge. I have no experience in legal practises out-with the realms of business and contract law. I’m not going to make any attempt to regurgitate the case nor will I here question the findings of those more qualified than myself. This is my opinion on his reintegration from society, and the views of other high profile individuals. As I’ve seen on my twitter account, any attempt to cast doubt/questions over a case is seen as a clear confession that I agree with Evans.
I did need to add a disclaimer to this – If I don’t then I’m misquoted further down the line and labelled some sympathiser or victim-blamer. Welcome to the modern world of internet usage.
The discussion point, should Ched Evans be allowed to play football again?
As I mentioned at the beginning; everyone appears to be divided. The Players Football Association CEO Gordon Taylor has said:
“I didn’t know there was a law that said once you come out of prison you still can’t do anything,”
The PFA chief, speaking to the BBC’s Sport Wales programme, later added: “As a trade union we believe in the rule of law… besides that, he still wants to contribute to society.”
Nick Clegg, deputy Prime Minister and MP for Sheffield Hallam has said:
“When you take a footballer on, you are not taking just a footballer these days, you are also taking on a role model.” Before advising any club to “think long and hard” on any decisions to re-sign the player.
Neil Warnock and Phil Brown, managers of Crystal Palace and Southend United respectively, have also both shown support of Evan’s reintegration to society, stating that the player has served the time he sentenced – and now he must move on with his life.
The case is difficult, and with a rape case there is such an emotional sensitivity that delivering any opinion is often met with outcry from your opposing side.
Ched Evans is a football player, that’s his trade. A trade he’s worked on his whole life and a trade he’s suspended from since his imprisonment. Should the viewpoint stand that Evans should not be allowed back into football – then by default there’s other pressures on other sectors to not employ him either. A situation which could leave Evans completely unemployed. Should Evans be unemployed, the financial support would fall to the government and the benefits system established for those unable to generate income.
There’s been pressure for him to confess and publically apologise for the offense; while I’m not questioning the verdict delivered by a court-of-law, if Ched Evans genuinely believes he’s innocent then the expectation of him to show remorse and confess to the crime is unrealistic. He has every right to fight for what he believes is the truth.
No-one has a right opinion here, and I’m siding with Nick Clegg. I do believe that every ex-convict has a right to reintegrate themselves with society and resume a role within their previous profession after their sentence has been fulfilled. However, I do feel with high profile individuals it’s difficult to herald a convicted rapist as a hero to young supporters of football clubs. I certainly wouldn’t want my future children believing Ched Evans was to be idolised for a 35 goal season, given his off-field actions.
I like the idea of someone being able to continue with their life after their punishment has been completed, but I wouldn’t want him at my club, which probably tells you which way I’d fall if push came to shove.
………….. Over and out.