Are we all still out there? Good.
This week you may or may not have heard something about Welsh footballer Ched Evans, convicted of rape and sentenced to five years imprisonment after having had sex with a teenager who a jury had ruled was not in any condition to consent. This is unarguably rape and he needs to serve his time.
What is more disturbing is that so many people don't see what he did was absolutely wrong - many petrified by their own experiences of drunken sex and one-night standery immediately set thousands thinking this could happen to me and jumped to his defence, portraying the victimised girl as all manner of things which will not be repeated here ( that's what Twitter is for). A more accurate example of what happened in Rhyl last year would be you drunkenly sleeping with someone, another person showing up as you sleep and molesting you.
Marlon King is a nasty piece of work. 14 convictions, jailed twice, once for sexually assaulting a woman who had rejected his advances, beating her and allegedly shouting: "Don't you know who I am? I'm a multi millionaire! You're not even in my league!". Wigan restored so much faith in football's integrity by sacking the player immediately after his conviction. Within two months of his release, he was signed by Coventry City, and became their top scorer, as well as the team's player of the season. King currently plays for Birmingham City.
An announcement about Evans' employment with Sheffield United is imminent. It is certain The Blades will see fit to terminate his contract, and it's equally certain he will be signed by another club upon his expected release in 2 years for good behaviour, though plenty of things may be considered 'good behaviour' compared to rape, for example: arson, blackmail and puppy-drowning.
PFA Team Of The Year:
And then there's the thinking behind Ched Evans' selection in the PFA (Players Football Association) League One Team Of The Year last night. Evans had a great season for Sheffield United, scoring 35 goals in 42 matches is hugely impressive, and the voting for this event had taken place long before his judgement. The PFA decided to retain Evans' position on the team, despite the conviction, on the basis that they were concerned with how he played on the pitch, and they felt a change in the awards would have represented the manipulation of a democratic vote, however logical it may seem.
The moral dilemma of whether or not to compromise a group's values by the expulsion of a man who is drowning in immorality is one that has not been undertaken lightly. Even if I disagree, the PFA, Gordon Taylor and Clarke Carlisle are to be admired for their dedication to the integrity of their institution. The very same men stood against King, who slandered them for not supporting a convicted criminal, and they will act likewise for Evans when his appeal is (presumably) dismissed. Though in this case, I feel they have maybe not given enough credit to the severity of what has happened. Could they justify retaining ex-Brazil hopeful Bruno, if he was in England and had been on the list prior to his conviction? Perhaps integrity has not best been served by inaction.