ONLY A GAME? - Reaction to Ched Evans makes me sick

Convicted rapist, Ched Evans.
Convicted rapist, Ched Evans.

It’s not often I get angry but the behaviour of some football fans this week regarding Ched Evans was disgusting.

Ched Evans is a convicted rapist who used to play for Sheffield United.

Evans was convicted in April 2012 and was sentenced to five years imprisonment. He was released earlier this month.

Rape is amongst the most evil, vile and inhumane crimes imaginable. Rape is rape, it really is that simple.

Earlier this week, Ched Evans issued an on-line video statement.

Evans’ girlfriend appeared in the video by his side as he read from an autocue. Not once did he say sorry to the girl he was convicted of raping but instead opted to describe his actions as ‘infidelity. The lack of remorse and compassion was obvious.

Does Ched Evans deserve a second chance? That’s a question I honestly can’t answer but what disgusted me this week was what some football fans had to say about it.

Football fan Jay Stevens had this to say via Twitter: “Young rich naive footballers are easy prey for vindictive women lookin to get paid! #chedevansisinnocent.”

The fact that a hashtag even exists for #ChedEvansIsInnocent just makes my blood boil.

For those of you not familiar with Twitter, a hashtag is something someone would put at the end of a Tweet as a sort of label. The more people who use the hashtag the more popular the label, in this case Ched Evans Is Innocent, becomes.

Another football fan who goes by the Twitter handle of @welshsteel27 said: “anyone who believes that that slushbag was raped by #chedevansisinnocent needs to give their head a wobble.”

It’s disgusting that in the instance of a rape where a woman is the victim, a convicted rapist like Ched Evans enjoys so much support and sympathy.

Men and women used their freedom of speech to suggest Ched Evans is guilty. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but many of these people aren’t basing their opinions on the fact. The most important use of the facts was the court case in which Ched Evans was convicted.

The level of apathy towards rape and lack of empathy for rape victims are things I will never be able to understand.

Some so called football fans have even gone as far as verbally attacking the woman Evans raped.

The woman has been subject to threats of rape and violence. This is just not acceptable and when I hear people saying they’d welcome Ched Evans back to Sheffield United with open arms it makes me feel very sad.

The amount of misogyny and refusal to take rape seriously amongst some football fans is worrying.

Some might say that it’s a problem for wider society but I think they’re wrong.

Football, for some, is the last bastion of male dominance and expression and any criticism of it is deemed as a threat.

Despite the fact a court of law convicted Ched Evans of rape there are some who base their belief of his innocence simply because they can’t accept the truth.

Those who run football like to think of it as a brand and with every brand comes a degree of responsibility. It’s time for football fans to stand up and be counted.

It’s time for people to accept that something like #ChedEvansIsInnocent is offensive. It’s time for misogyny to become a thing of the past. It’s time for everyone to accept that #RapeIsWrong.