What does a convicted rapist have to do to get a job in football these days? Well an apology would be a start. Or at least some form of remorse? Ched Evans has done neither and even if he had, no football club can justify hiring someone who has committed such an awful crime.
The fact is that Ched Evans was found guilty in a court of law of rape and rape is no ordinary prison sentence. Just like football is no ordinary sport. Even at third tier level Sheffield United are a club with a huge fan base, not to mention his 13 international caps for Wales.
Struggle for Work
The Welshman has been in search of a new club ever since his release and has failed to earn a contract at Sheffield United, Hartlepool, and Oldham Athletic. Each club suffered.
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A petition to prevent Ched Evans re-joining Sheffield United passed 160,000 signatures, portraying just a proportion of a nationwide audience against him playing professional football again.
A Role Model for Thousands
You wouldn't idolise your local checkout assistant at the supermarket now would you? But Ched Evans was idolised by many, he was a role model for the city of Sheffield and for the country of Wales.
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It must be stated that Evans is no ordinary member of society and in regular circumstances he may well be permitted to go back into the trade of his choice. However football requires unparalleled commitment as both an athlete and a role model for society. How could Evans ever be a role model for society?
A Family Sport
Imagine the circumstances, Evans is sitting in the changing room pulling on the clubs jersey, he kisses the badge before walking out of the tunnel. As he jogs onto the turf he spins around on giving a glance to the television cameras and the adoring supporters, many of them children. What name are these children chanting? It’s the name of a rapist, who’s name do they have on their shirt? It’s the name of a rapist. How can you compare this to any other career?
To state that in any other profession he would be allowed to continue is just not true, for example BBC Sports reported that key cutting firm Timpson, who are well known for hiring ex-convicts, were quoted as saying they would not hire a sex offender.
Ex-offenders of such crimes will always struggle to find work, but surely that comes with the crime you commit? Just because you’ve served, as Evans did, two and a half years of a five year sentence does this mean that everything is forgotten? To put it bluntly, no.
According to Ched Evans official website his legal team “have submitted an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission which is the first step to a second appeal”
If successful in his appeal and his name is cleared then he can be welcomed back into the world of football. However, unless this happens he will remain a guilty man, a man who under no circumstances could continue a professional footballing career.
Sport is Different
The idea doesn’t just apply to Ched Evans either, there are after all many ex-offenders currently plying their trade in the English leagues. This doesn't make it morally right.
There are many crimes that shouldn’t prevent a footballer continuing to play after his sentence, however severe cases such as sexual offences or murder should.
Ched Evans may have served his sentence but the crime will stay with him for life. Just as the horror of that night will for the 19 year old he raped.