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Ched Evans & A Hole Too Big To Be Dug Out From

Editorial | Article posted on November 16th, 2014

For Sheffield United Football Club, the timing couldn’t have been much worse. This weekend is a weekend of international football and, since nature abhors a vacuum, there have been plenty of column inches to fill in the sports sections of newspaper wesbites which which might not otherwise have been looking for a story. Yet it doesn’t seem unreasonable to state that, in view of what we know about the ongoing rumblings over the readmittance of convicted rapist Ched Evans into football society, this is a position into which the club has cast itself voluntarily. It was under no obligation to offer this player the opportunity to train with the first team but it has done nevertheless, and this decision has come set against the background of a debate has become more about heat than about light.
In such cases, it is usually instructive to refer back to the story which makes up the background of the story. The Sheffield United striker Ched Evans was recently released from prison on licence after having served half of a five year sentence for rape. The player has strongly denied his guilt in this matter, has flatly refused to issue any sort of repentance for what the law has adjudged him to have done, and has set up a website protesting his innocence. In the meantime, a group of people has come to close ranks around the player, protesting his innocence against the charges for which he was convicted. Certain individuals associated with this campaign have, however, acted in a way that does his campaign for justice no good whatsoever. The victim of the attack – and, since the criminal conviction remains in his name, there seems little point in using the word “allegedly ” here – has twice been identified and forced to move house because of this whilst, after the Olympic star Jessica Ennis-Hill stated that she would want her name to be removed from a stand at Bramall Lane which bears her name should the club re-sign Evans, she received abusive messages including a rape threat.
Evans himself, meanwhile, has not yet even publicly distanced himself from the worst excesses of some of his supporters, and has come in for considerable criticism for not doing so. Yet the question of why he hasn’t sought to find some sort of atonement for what he is adjudged by the law to have done is a nuanced one. After all, if he really, truly feels that he has done so wrong, then it may be seen as perfectly reasonable that he should not have one so. Having said that, however, the question of why he hasn’t spoken out more stridently against rape in a general sense

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