There’s rumours that Ched Evans has been linked with Barrow this evening in a move that may be less controversial since the decision to retry his case. Despite that would you be happy if a man with his personal history signed for our club?
I’ve had this discussion a couple of times with friends of mine, and I have to say that I would be upset if he moved to Lincoln, but not for the reasons you think. I suspect he would quickly become another Lee Hendrie, a man weighed down by his issues unable to perform to his previous abilities in the lower leagues. I actually don’t think he was that good anyway and I know a number of Sheff Utd fans who feel the same. I think he’d struggle now to get the fitness back he needed and he’d struggle with being the target of heavy tackles in a tough league. However whether he’d add value or not is irrelevant when considering if he should be allowed back into the game, what is relevant is his conviction and retrial for the rape of a young woman. Or is it relevant?
Lee Hughes caused the death of a person through suspected drink and / or drugged driving. He then maliciously left the scene of the crime to sober up, and yet he signed for several clubs upon his release without too much fanfare. It was widely believed he’d paid for his crimes and had earned the right to return to his profession. I agree with that sentiment even though I think he is an absolute cockwomble.
Luke McCormick also drove after an all night session, and he ploughed into another car killing children, two of them. He had excessive alcohol in his blood and had been driving carelessly. He served his sentence and now plays league football with Plymouth Argyle. I don’t remember a single person protesting when he returned to the game, not one. He’s even the club captain.
Ched Evans and an equally as dubious friend took a drunk young woman back to a hotel room and… well I think you know the rest. His friend was not convicted of rape yet Ched was. I’m not going to discuss the in and out’s of the case as it isn’t my place to, but recently he was granted a retrial. He served his time and paid his due to society, and he didn’t cost anybody their life. His behaviour was reprehensible but nobody was killed, not an elderly man and not two young children. However when he tried to return to play for Sheffield United there was uproar. Famous people got involved such as the darling of London 2012 Jessica Ennis and Beautiful South singer Paul Heaton. When there were rumours of him signing for other clubs the mobs were out with pitchforks. Imagine if he’d tried to sign for Plymouth? We won’t have this arrogant and dirty young man play for us, but we’re happy for a man who contributed directly to the deaths of two young children to serve as our club captain.
Ched Evans is no role model, but not every footballer is. Their behaviour is often not in keeping with the way you’d expect your children to behave, and yet society puts them on a pedestal for the wrong reasons. If I had been good at football (which I’m not) then I would have followed it as a profession. I wouldn’t have killed or raped anybody, obviously, but I might not have thought at every turn that my actions were influencing young people. I’d go to work, do a job and come home to live my life. If Ched Evans had worked in a builders merchant and committed his (alleged) crime would he have been able to return to work? Yes. Would society accept he’d served his time and moved on? Yes.
If you don’t allow the young man to get back into the game then what else can he do? He’s clearly not a smart man, nor one with much integrity or morals, but he has a right as a free man to pursue the things he is good at in order to make a living. He may earn stupid sums of money for being average at his job, but that is his trade and the climate in which he works. By openly denying him and publically protesting his arrival at their club in my opinion Sheff Utd and their fans were directly discriminating against him. He served his time and with his conviction being quashed he’s (currently) a victim of a miscarriage of justice. He is a morally bankrupt victim with questionable social habits, but a victim nonetheless. Even if the retrial finds him guilty again he has served his time, the sentence laid down by the law of this land. Society as a whole should be ashamed of the way he has been vilified and hounded from potential job on his release as a reformed character, and he is reformed in the eyes of the law.
Lots of people in the real world make mistakes, big mistakes but they can atone for them and rejoin society, it’s what living in a free and just country such as ours is all about. However it does make me question society when a drunken idiot who may or may not have raped a drunk girl is driven from his profession, but a double child killer is welcomed back with open arms.