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Ched Evans, a convicted rapist: Should he play or should he go?

When you next enter a public place put on your headphones and pretend that you are entering a world of your own, while actually listening to other peoples conversations. So much can be learnt in this way, what woman really think of their boyfriends, what people really think of poor coffee and what they  really think of any particular topical issue. The Ched Evans issue has become a hot topic, not only for sport but also in the murky realms of politics and business. The question is: should a convicted rapist be allowed to play professional football again?

Here is what everyone knows: Ched Evans was convicted of rape,  sent to prison for five years before only serving two and a half. Mr Evans has always denied that he ever committed the crime and is fighting still to clear his name. No one other than himself or the alleged victim can know whether he is guilty and it is not for the media or us to judge. It is the public’s job however to decide however,  whether they think someone who has convicted a horrendous crime should play again- the freedom of expression is key to our democracy.

Many people have refused to debate the issue and many have made  this a simple yes or no debate but everyone should be a bit smarter than that. This is not a clear issue, it is as clear as mud and as foggy as a coastal town on a cold winters night. What no one has being saying on the radio debates is that rape and violence against woman is acceptable because quite clearly it is not. However people have made this into personal attacks against both the victim and Mr Evans. This can never be seen as acceptable and is disgusting, rape is a horrible thing and should not be overlooked in populist debate.

We have to judge the facts, take the emotion out and come to a cool rationalisation. If Ched Evans plays again he will not get an easy ride, he will be booed by opposing fans, he will be spat at, he will receive death threats and will never feel safe from attack again. Short of being in prison, surely for his enemies this is the next best thing? He will always be looking over his shoulder and he will have extended period of trial from the media and the public. It is what is going to happen. Sponsors will also make his life more than just uncomfortable.

Are the people against Evans playing again saying they don’t believe in the British prosecution system? Saying that the criminal system does not work is very dangerous message to send to the next generation. By saying Ched Evans cannot play again, the public are virtually saying that they don’t believe that the prison system works. Nine and ten year olds will then think: “We can do what we want and not face the full force of the law!”. That is not a message that would be good to get into the public spear.  The criminal justice system is there to protect us , punish the responsible and the rehabilitate those criminals back into a tolerance society. If you cannot be rehabilitate then what is the point of prison?

People on radio stations have put forward some very strange arguments about this case, firstly there has been the suggestion that Ched Evans does not make a good role model. This is true but then it is not up to adults to point out the right role models to their children ,whilst also explaining why certain other public figures do not make good role models? How many footballers make good role models anyway? How many are caught being racist, sexist or homophobic? How many are caught in betting scams? It is very dangerous to teach children to follow those kind of role models. Plus most children follow footballers on the pitch, they are more interested in goal celebrations and clever passes, than they are about off the field exploits. This argument is from lazy journalists who don’t understand the game.

This sorry episode has done a number of good things, how ever bad that may sound. For a start it has shown all woman across Great Britain that we will not tolerate any form of  domestic abuse. We live in the first world in the twenty first century not the ninth. It is no longer acceptable to over feed your dog, so it  too should be so obvious  that abusing a woman is wrong. No one can endorse violence of any kind and should be sent to jail if they do. That is almost a pointless argument because it is so obvious, that it should not need saying in the first place.

Number two on the list of positives, it has brought this subject back into the political lime light, a complacent politician is a naive one. It is time for another debate on domestic violence. When that enters deepest Westminster or re-enters it will be a fantastic day for all victims. In an ironic way this has given victims a louder voice.

Just a quick paragraph on the threats the victim has received, humans can be nasty and this is a disgrace. However this would happen even if Ched Evans did not get a professional contract in fact it would likely intensify the threats. It is not for us to get emotionally involved in the incident. It is time for us to park our opinions and let the clubs perusing his services decide what action they take.

The Ched Evans debate has fuelled debates and controversy. This article has come down on the side that he should be allowed to play, this was not an easy side to come down on. Ched Evans denies the fact that he is guilty, had he said he was proud of being guilty- then this article may well have been very different. It is important for you  to decide which side of the debate you are on as an independent body and not as part of a larger group of thought…This is a very personal debate.

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