Ched Evans should be allowed to play football again.   Leave a comment

Featured imageCan I firstly point out that Evans is a vile human being, an unrepentant rapist and if he was offered a contract by my football club I would consider my position as a trustee. However his crime does not preclude him from resuming a career in professional football.

There will be those who contend that his crime rules out any return to a normal life. Those arguing that might point out that his victim has to live with what happened for ever and that there are some crimes so heinous that no return to anything approaching a normal life should be viable. There are crimes of that nature and they are reflected in life sentences- either whole life custodial terms where no release is likely or in life sentences where a licence is imposed.

Evans’ sentence was somewhat short of a life sentence and fell somewhere in the correct range for the offence of which he was convicted; he has served the custodial part of the sentence. Opinions that Evans’ sentence was insufficient or that jail terms are generally too light have no place when considering the footballer’s future. Any criminal who is released has to have the chance of rehabilitation.

Evans’ sentence is too long to ever be spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act but that doesn’t mean it should be a bar to his employment. He is not a candidate for standard rehabilitation schemes as you would hope that his, serious, offence should be a one-off and he comes out with money and a stable social circle. However one of the roles of the criminal justice system is to offer a second chance to offenders, particularly those who offend once or are not persistent criminals. Evans, having served the custodial part of his sentence deserves this chance.

Should Ched Evans be permitted to resume a career in football? There is nothing in the law to stop it. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act gives a clue with details of occupations and roles where even minor offences will not be spent. Some point out that a conviction would rule out Evans working as a teacher, a doctor or a solicitor. This is true but I guess none of those professions are his chosen career path. There are other crimes, even where the sentence is minor, that would rule out an immediate return to many jobs, these would include many dishonesty offences where the occupation involved a position of trust or handling money. Interesting offenders cannot rely on their crimes being spent when seeking employment with football clubs but only as stewards!

Many criminals, even some serious one, have returned to football. These include a number who have killed while committing driving offences, many who have assaulted people including sexually and even armed robbers. Those who have caused death by dangerous driving are well documented however it might be said each as expressed remorse whether you think that remorse in genuine or not. It has to be said that Evans has only apologised for drunken infidelity rather than the rape for which he was convicted.

If he returns to football Evans will not be in an occupation where his offending represents a danger. Football players represent clubs because they are good at the game not as role models. Because they chose football over schooling many players are badly educated. I always enjoy sending players to literacy events at primary schools as many of them can improve their reading by working with the pupils! Clearly Evans will be excluded from much of the community work at any club and I expect that commercial partners will not be queuing-up to use him. Footballers are role models by accident rather than design. Asking a young adult who earns more in a week than some earn in a year to be a community figure-head is always difficult.

Evans’ occupation is professional footballer. With a training regime it is probably that he can resume a career where he might be paid approaching fifty-thousand pounds a month. The law cannot stop that. However for all that Evans is an athlete, his business is entertainment and the bottom-line is selling tickets and commercial endorsements. If he were a soap star his acting skills would not be diminished by his offending. If he were a chart artist then his singing voice might be retained while in prison. If he were a TV presenter then his abilities would not disappear with a spell in chokey. In all these case I would expect his earning ability to vanish if he raped someone.

In the wider entertainment industry there would be little to attract businesses to Evans. In football some clubs might consider whether they might get an international standard player on the cheap. Will the uproar and bad-will be balanced against improved results and the revenue that brings? Most clubs would rule out employing him on moral ground but clearly at least one is considering his options. The public has to show that the commercial risk is too great.

I actually support allowing Ched Evans to train in the same way as I would expect a joiner to brush up on their carpentry skills or a car mechanic to become familiar with new car models. What I do not want to see is an unrepentant rapist stepping back into a highly paid profession as if his crime was only a minor personal inconvenience!

Ched Evans should be allowed to play football again but I sincerely hope no one offers that opportunity.


Posted November 15, 2014 by dalekpete in Uncategorized

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