Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Thursday, 2 April 2015

Gross Football Laddism Set To End As Team’s Youth Players Learn Consent

Gross Football Laddism Set To End As Team’s Youth Players Learn Consent

The Debrief: If other teams – and other places full of blokes – follow in Brighton and Hove Albion’s footsteps, the UK might be a much better place for women…

Brighton and Hove Albion football club wouldn’t normally pique our interest, but we’re actually properly thrilled that the club will be giving its youth members consent training.

The Protect, Inform and Prevent (PIP) programme will explain to players when in law consent is given, the BBC reports. Obviously this is pretty important for any young person – male and female – to learn, but it counts all the more considering the club has a bit of a troubled history – in 2013, four current and previous players for the team were cleared of sexual assault charges.

And we really hope this is the beginning of a tipping point not just for football, but for the country. See, footballers are influential, and there have been two really tricky stories about them in the past year that have shown just how dodgy some Brits’ attitudes to rape and consent are.

READ MORE: Big Brother's Got Us All Talking About Consent And That's Great

The first was the one of Ched Evans; imprisoned for raping a woman in a hotel room (his defence was, well, she was sleeping with my best mate, so she obviously consented to sex with me) and then wanting to be a professional (overpaid) footballer again, despite showing no penance for the crime. The victim was later named on social media by wannabe vigilantes and a website run by his girlfriend’s family sets out to discredit the story of the victim, suggesting she was drunk so she must have wanted it.

The second was the story of Adam Johnson, a Sunderland player who allegedly slept with a 15-year-old girl. Blokes on Twitter responded by posting photos of the alleged victim, identifying her, calling her a 'slag' and saying they’d ‘smash it’ too.

READ MORE: TOWIE Bosses Need To Address The Fact Dan Osborne's Threatened To Hospitalise His Ex

It all showed, depressingly, how far we need to come for people to ‘get’ that no means no and yes means yes. And that an eager ‘yes please come and do me right now!’ is the response people should be aiming to get when they imply they want to sleep with someone.

Football is by no means the only social sphere where consent isn’t known about properly – rape sadly happens across all social strata – but if footballers can be the upstanding gentlemen we all know they can be (they’re hardly born evil, are they?) and redefine what it is to be a 'true lad', then that’ll set a precedent for other people – men and women, again – to take note.

TLDR: Footballers are getting better, the world is getting better. Amen.

Like this? You might also be interested in:

Cambridge University Considers Compulsory Classes To Teach About Sexual Consent

Dinosaur Barrister Says Raped Women 'Gagging For It', Keeps Job

Four Things Ched Evans Could Have Done Other Than Release This Terrible Video Statement

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Tags: Sports, Rape