Stevie Martin | Staff Writer | Monday, 5 January 2015

Thousands Sign Petition To Stop Oldham Athletic Signing Convicted Rapist Ched Evans

The Debrief: Change.org petition gets tens of thousands of signatures overnight to prevent Ched Evans from playing again

Update: Oldham Athletic are in talks to give Evans a contract at their League 1 club. Ahead of the decision, Verlin Rainwater has cut its sponsorship ties with the club.

Since being convicted of raping a 19 year old, 26-year-old footballer Ched Evans has maintained his innocence (saying she consented, despite being so drunk she could barely stand up) and has been fighting to return to professional football. While he wasn’t allowed to return to Sheffield United, the team he played for at the time of his arrest, he had been all set to join Oldham FC.

However, a petition with over 20,000 signatures has sprung up against this decision – and it now seems people are just not up for letting him get back into top-level football. Probably because he has still never apologised for his actions and the victim has been forced into hiding after internet users (and angry Sheffield Utd fans) published her address online numerous times.

Actually, scratch that, he had sex with a young woman who a) wasn’t his girlfriend; and b) was so drunk that the judge concluded he could never have believed she consented.

Probably don’t do this if you want to keep your job.

While the club haven’t yet confirmed the steps being taken towards signing Evans, the Football Association appears to be behind the move. Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the players’ union at the FA said, ‘We’ve made it clear in our statements that we feel he’s been unable to say much because of the appeals process, but he has served his time and the job of society is to look to rehabilitate.’

It brings up the question of whether we should outcast someone who has committed a crime such as this for the rest of their lives, or seek to ingratiate them back into society in the hope that they’ve changed, and grown as a person. Thing is, Evans has no idea he did anything wrong. Still.

Plus, this would be a real shift in Oldham’s opinion. Back in December, amid rumours the club was looking to sign Evans, they released the following statement, ‘Oldham Athletic are aware of various newspaper reports linking the club to Ched Evans. The board of directors would like to confirm that we will not be extending an invitation for Ched Evans to train with Oldham Athletic nor will we be offering him a contract.’

Last week, the Ministry of Justice stepped in to prevent Evans from being signed by Maltese club Hiberians. In a statement, it said, ‘We are determined to have one of the toughest regimes in the world for managing sex offenders, to stop them re-offending and to protect victims. Probation officers must give permission for sex offenders on licence to take up new jobs and this includes ensuring they hold regular face-to-face meetings – this effectively rules out working abroad.’

You can sign the Change.org petition here.

You might also be interested in...

Four Things Ched Evans Could Have Done Rather Than Release This Awful Video Statement About Rape Conviction

#IAmJada Update: A Teen Has Been Charged With Her Rape

Your Need To Know On The Bill Cosby Situation

Follow Stevie on Twitter: @5tevieM

Picture: Getty

Tags: Protests, Rape