Here is the piece http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/11310292/Ched-Evans-must-be-allowed-to-play-football-and-society-answers-to-the-rule-of-law-not-the-mob.html
Sometimes when journalists offer their view on Evans in a supportive fashion I write a fairly lengthy piece about why I disagree. I won't here. Because, frankly, it's just not that impressive in its awfulness. It's just really repetitive. It sounds like a long version of the thousands of trolling SUFC fans I've encountered over the months.
The general tone is one I've seen expressed by lots of men in Football over the last few months. Summarised, the message from many of the chairmen, managers, journos is this "How dare you tell us what to do? We are not happy that the general public, particularly gobby women, are wading into our cosy, privileged, self-congratulatory life and telling us we are morally bankrupt and self-indulgent. We are quite happy doing just as we like thank you because.... well..... we are men! Proper men. We will look after our own. Ched is one of us. You lot aren't. You're just nasty to men like us. Oh lookit.... free bar!"
On Twitter earlier I said I didn't like the piece. Luke then accused me of calling him a rape apologist. I hadn't. So I can only assume that is what he was expecting? Why was he expecting that I wonder?
Actually the piece is flawed throughout and misses a hundred points by a thousand miles.
Some of the ones I found really lacking in awareness were these,
"However, the uncomfortable truth is that if they wanted to sign him, if they thought he could do a good job for them, they should have done it. They were perfectly entitled to."
Isn't it the case that clubs are dependent on their fans and should show them some respect? Some of them will be women. Some of them will be survivors of sexual violence. Some of the managers and board would do well to realise that people don't like rapists no matter what they can do with a ball. Those people might say so. Those people might not want to pay their money to watch that rapist. So actually - being "entitled" is really a matter not of what you can legally do but also what you can commercially and morally do. I think the latter is more important - but I think clubs like Hartlepool are considering the former.
I write this from the view that Evans is a rapist. Or rather he was.
Evans is still a rapist. Assuming he is told to fuck off with his appeal he will be a rapist for the rest of his life. He will remain forever on the sex offenders list. You haven't "unraped" a woman when you come out of jail. That thing still happened, unfortunately for the victim.
But society will not let Evans complete his rehabilitation. He is a free man still shackled by his crime. His fame as a professional footballer ensures that, unlike the thousands of other ex-cons who are working among us in this country, everybody knows what he did.
The emotive language here is interesting. "shackled" implies slavery. Have I not seen Evans in the news wandering around Alderley edge with his beautiful girlfriend and jumping in a rather nice expensive car? Society will very much let Evans complete his rehabilitation. Nothing that has been done prevents that. I really, really want him to work and hope he finds some. Somewhere safely away from young men whose attitudes he can influence around consensual sex, by displaying his repeated refusal to apologise for or acknowledge a crime he committed. He has the right to work. Let him get on with it. It does not have to be at a football club.
Evans is being punished over and over again. Because he played professional football, it is argued Evans cannot be allowed to resume his career because of the nature of the crime he committed. The ‘but he is a role model’ argument rides roughshod over the law of the land.
The lack of skilful argument here is embarrassing. Evans isn't being punished because he can't kick a ball just where he chooses without the public saying they aren't happy about it. People aren't happy when men rape women. People don't particularly like to see rapists. People aren't happy with rapists being given status and money. This isn't challenging the law. It is expressing a worthwhile moral view on the crime of sexual violence. If we don't strongly express this view then rape is not seen with the same contempt it really should be. 78000 rapes a year in the UK is too high. That is a lot of men raping a lot of women. The vast majority of them aren't caught or punished.
There are even paedophiles, released from prison, working in a whole range of jobs up and down the country.
I really can't believe he went there. A child rapist has a job somewhere so Evans should be able to have just the job he likes too? What the fuck dude? What the actual? We cannot suspend our revulsion of the crime of rape because of "fairness" to all sexual offenders. There was no fairness when Evans shoved his penis inside a girl unable to give her consent. All of these crimes are abhorrent. None of them should entitle you to be in a position where you influence the views of others on that crime. There will be precious few child rapists in a job anywhere if their employer sees them spreading the view "She did want sex with me because look at her on this video on my website - if a child can carry a pizza that child is up for sex" and being allowed to continue stocking the shelves of their newly found employment I'm sure.
He is hounded by a social and mainstream media lynch mob.
Emotive language again. A body of people disgusted by rape and rapists and gathering together to express that view is about challenging a culture where rape is prolific and attitudes to it are damaging. It is not and never will be a group of people illegally wanting to hang someone.
But of the hundreds who expressed their opposition, many more did not
160,000+ signed the petition I started. There was the opportunity offered by the Evans family to sign a counter petition but fewer did. 20,000 have signed a petition asking the FA and PFA to outlaw the return of any player convicted of sexual violence. Here it is
Ched Evans committed an unforgivable act of sexual violence and the public are repeatedly telling him that. Public forgiveness is not the automatic right of someone released from prison.
The rest of the piece just becomes a bit whiny. It is quite morally confused. It misses the point totally about the fact that people really want to challenge a culture where men do not understand what rape is. Men like Ched Evans. Rapists. Because Luke .... you may not be a rape apologist... and you are very keen to stress you are not..... but you are certainly very concerned that no one interferes with the running of the beautiful game. You can couch it in your concern for "the law" as much as you like but you are a football journalist and we can see you protecting a man within your "own" team. If only you were concerned about the fact that 78000 women are being raped a year. If only that was your thing and you wrote about it.