The story has caused controversy over the last few days, so I thought it was only right that I gave my opinion on it. I’ve put it in a rant with a simple title with a simple purpose, to make sure there is no way back into football for a convicted rapist.
Former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans, who was convicted for raping a 19 year old girl in 2012, has been released from prison halfway through a 5 year jail sentence. There has been debate on whether he should be allowed to play professional football again, with many big names in sport calling for the Welshman to not return to playing full time, with Sheffield United currently letting Evans train with them, upon the PFA’s request.
Athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill has asked for her name to be removed from a stand at The Blades’ Bramall Lane stadium if the club offer Evans a contract. “Those in positions of influence should respect the role they play in young people’s lives and set a good example,” said Olympic champion Ennis-Hill. “If Evans was to be re-signed by the club it would completely contradict these beliefs.”
Three club patrons have already resigned since it was announced that the 25 year old was training with the Yorkshire club, whilst over 160,000 people have signed an online petition urging Sheffield United not to take the player back.
The club’s shirt sponsor DBL Logistics has has said it will end its association with the club if they re-sign a convicted rapist.
Evans, who maintains his innocence, has scored 59 goals in 167 appearances during spells with Manchester City, Norwich City and Sheffield United. He also has one goal in 13 games for the Wales national team.
My opinion? It goes without saying that I see it wrong for Ched Evans to play football for any club again, not just Sheffield United.
Being a footballer is one of the highest paid jobs in this country, so what kind of message will it send when people seeing a man who was in prison for rape then suddenly go to earning thousands of pounds a week. It would be almost as though his time in a cell was pointless. He would earn more in his first few months back than the majority of the country will have earned during his whole sentence.
Footballers are also role models. Children look up to superstars on the pitch, they want to be like them. Evans is no role model. If he was, it would be promoting rape and suggesting it is an ok thing to do.
Also, on a perhaps irrelevant note, how can comedian Daniel O’Reilly (AKA Dapper Laughs) see his career left in tatters from a single rape joke, but an actual rapist has a chance of resuming his football career?
I cannot see how any club would want to take a risk on the Welshman. Ched Evans only has himself to blame if he never plays professional football again, and the fact that he expects to surprises me.
Evans’ recent statement from his website
Those who defend Evans say if he was engaged in any ordinary trade or profession, it would be accepted that he should be allowed to find employment. However, professional sport is not like any other trade. It is watched, written about and read about by millions.
Many employers will have a box to tick on a job application relating to criminal record. And any employer can do a basic criminal records check where a four-year sentence or more would show up. They then legally have the right to refuse a person. So there is nothing stopping Sheffield United from refusing Evans without receiving any valid criticism.
It is a decision that does not need any consideration, the striker has said in an official statement that he has “learnt a very painful lesson” over the past couple of years, but he should be given the crushing blow that not even school can teach him. Sign the petition to keep him out of the game at: https://www.change.org/p/kevin-mccabe-chairman-of-sheffield-utd-football-club-refuse-to-reinstate-ched-evans-as-a-player-at-sheffield-united.