It can often seem with frequent suspended drunk driving sentences, acquittals for various incidents of pub violence, and other high-profile arrests that footballers are above the law. Just recently Brazilian player Brandao, under the cloud of a sexual assault allegation stemming from last March that seems to be floating in the middle of an “on-going investigation” ether, scored Marseille’s League Cup-winning goal. This was the player of whom club president president Jean-Claude Dassier once said, “Until the investigation is complete, we are all agreed that Brandão should no longer wear the Marseille shirt.” Now, he’s a hero of the club while the case seems to have gone nowhere…

Today however, Sheffield United’s Welsh striker Ched Evans received a five year sentence for rape (co-accused Port Vale player Clayton McDonald was acquitted). Evans is not a bit player for the team; he’s the top scorer with the Blades at 29 goals, more than twice the number of the second highest goal-scorer in the team, Lee Williamson. And Sheffield—currently six points off top spot in League One—is a tight derby battle for promotion with rivals Wednesday. This seems to be one of the rare occasions where a footballer’s actions off the pitch have real-world consequences.

Sheffield United have released a short statement, including Evans own brief reaction to the ruling. Meanwhile ESPN Soccernet has the most detailed report available on the incident in question.

As with any criminal justice trial, there will be different interpretations of the circumstances of the crime, the appropriateness of the verdict, and so on. To that end, and because I am a blogger sitting in an office in Canada and not intimately involved with the trial details, I’m not going to comment beyond the fact that rape is a serious crime and deserving of the fullest punishment legally afforded to the courts.

What I will say is this—the verdict should send the message out to clubs, managers, players and parents of players that elite footballers are not above the rule of law. The laissez-faire attitude among some clubs to the laddish football culture (often backed by tame sentences and suspended investigations) that leads young men to think it perfectly okay to film sex with blind drunk women needs to be thoroughly examined by everyone involved in the football league.

Comments (7)

  1. Stories like this make me sick.

  2. I’m confused. How was one of the guilty, the other not? I could understand a jury finding both guilty or both not-guilty…but they both admitted to having sex with the girl…so if one is guilty, shouldn’t the other be? Or vice-versa?

  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OBPaenkxdg

    To be clear, I am in no way endorsing the actions that ched evans has been accused of and which a judge has found him guilty of, and I am also not explicitly saying that the video I posted has anything to do with the case. I just stumbled across that video and posted it here to lighten the mood after reading such a depressing story.

  4. So you’re just saying it implicitly? Come on, that has no place anywhere a story like this.

    • anywhere near*? I don’t agree with that but, I don’t have the time to argue with you due to my upcoming biology exam. This isn’t the last we’re going to hear about this story. An appeal is coming, and from my admittedly limited knowledge based on what I’ve read here and on epsn, I won’t be surprised if Evans is cleared at the end of all this.

      The lesson I see here is to always drink responsibly.

      • I don’t know what any of that has to do with the fact that you posted a link to a video talking about women wearing a “whore’s uniform” on a story about a woman potentially being raped.

        At minimum I’d hope you could see that doing so was terribly insensitive, particularly with such limited information.

  5. gimme a break

    she was already having sex with one guy, chad comes in, she tells him to join them,
    the next morning she’s in bed alone and says she got raped.

    now the other guy is acquited and ched gets 5 years??Come on!!

    how is one innocent and the other not if they are both having sex with the same drunk girl?when does it become consentual?when is it rape?when ched walks in?

    this story is murky
    it sounds a lot like the kobe bryant affair

    the moral of the story is. don’t leave the girl all alone in bed the next morning!you have the stay the night, wake up with her, chit chat exchange numbers and then leave.
    its just standard procedure.

    i hope shes not just some bitter gold digger
    because this story is awefull

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