I’ll be honest when he was convicted I signed the petition that he should be banned from football. 2 and a half years on, I realise that would never happen and nor should it happen, if he’s served his time he should be allowed to continue his career in whatever field he works in. My opinion now however is that Sheffield United have an opportunity to send a profound message to the community of football here and I think it’s incredibly important that they make the right choice. Football fans are often a fickle bunch, if a guy scores 20 goals a season for your team, it wouldn’t matter if he’s a serial killer, that’s the reality, fans see footballers as being above human and therefore are ironically held to a lower standard than ordinary people because of their performances on the pitch. Luis Suarez was guilty of racist abuse, Liverpool fans backed him, it’s the way of football, the biggest crime a player can commit in the eyes of the fans is to leave. So to the board of Sheffield United I say this send the football community the message that you as a club believe rape is a serious crime, rape is wrong and violence against women is wrong and don’t take back Evans. I have no doubt another club would take him on but the spotlight would be gone by then, it’s Sheffield United’s reputation that’s on the line, if they take him back they will alienate 50% of potential fans, yes women watch football too. To the fans that would welcome him back with open arms I say this, a woman was raped, her life was ruined, she did not ask for it, the rapist was Ched Evans, imagine if that was your mother, daughter, wife or sister, would you still cheer him from the terraces.  I’ve heard people compare this story to Mike Tyson, who was convicted of rape in 1991 and served 4 years, they are not the same thing, boxers don’t work for anyone they are effectively self-employed, I suppose boxers could refuse to fight them but in the case of Tyson that would never of happened, and just like the football authorities would have no grounds to ban Evans from football, the boxing authorities would have no grounds to ban him from the sport. However had Tyson been employed by a sports club my message would’ve been the same, do the right thing, send a message to the rest of your sport. There are some things in life that are bigger than football, I think in a sport that has almost no morals or ethics, it’d be nice if a club stood up for an issue bigger than their end of season profits, but maybe I’m a fantasist.

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