By Will Herrmann
Writing about Ched Evans, his past misdemeanours and his future employment in a week that’s seen the tragic unfoldings in Paris seems wrong. However, the huge amount of bile that I keep being bombarded with on both mainstream and social media has driven me to try and make the most obvious point about the case.
Ched Evans has been convicted as a rapist. As a fully signed up member of the democracy that we live in and, as part of that, entirely subscribing to the legal practices that underpin our political structure, I have to believe that Ched Evans is a rapist. If I don’t believe that, then I cannot truly subscribe to the democracy I live in or its legal structure. I do believe that Ched Evans is a rapist. If his appeal is successful then I will similarly believe that he is, in fact, or at least, is beyond reasonable doubt, not a rapist. Regardless, as his case is currently adjudged, I must believe that he is a rapist.
Similarly, if I fully subscribe to UK democracy and its legal systems then I must also wholeheartedly believe in that system handing out and enforcing appropriate punishments to those people it finds guilty of misdemeanours. Has Ched Evans “served his time”? Well, he has certainly served some time and I, as a fully subscribed citizen, have to trust that those people that I have empowered as legal guardians believe he has served “appropriate time”. If I do not, how can I believe that any convicted criminal has been adequately punished and is ready to be released back into mainstream society?
When I think about Ched Evans and whether he should be allowed the privilege of playing professional football again my feeling side says I don’t know. My rational side says I have to trust in the legal systems that I have legitimised and I have to say that he has served the appropriate time for his crime and has been released back into society to resume his normal life. If a future employer chooses not to employ him because they believe his prior convictions make him less than able to perform his job (both as a footballer and as an ambassador that all professional footballers must be these days) then they should not employ him. But that decision should not be held up to the scrutiny of social media, mainstream media and sponsors with even more vulgar intent than either of those.