Cheering on a rapist

Picture the scene.

You are stood with your 10 year old son and 12 year old daughter on the terraces of your local football club. It is the first game you have taken them to but you can see by the way they are both responding to the ebbs and flows of the game that they are hooked.

You take a second to think back to the time you too stood in the same spot next to your own parents and feel happy with this sense of passed down community and belonging that local football clubs can gift to individuals.

As the game moves into the final 10 minutes and your team experience more near misses you see your kids nervously look at the clock. At that point all you hope for is a goal. A goal to be able to see your kids experience that communal elation as the terrace erupts in excitement.

As you reopen your eyes from a silent prayer you see your team’s new signing has picked up the ball deep in the oppositions half and cuts through two defenders before unleashing a strike into the top corner of the net. As the ball bulges the back of the net everyone around you roars and reaches for the sky in delight.

The normal celebrations though are cut short. As the opposition fans start chanting songs about the new signing being a rapist.

Confused your kids look up.

A second passes before your daughter, old enough to know exactly what a rapist is, asks you to explain what they are shouting about.

What can you say?

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6 Comments

Filed under Football, Social comment

6 responses to “Cheering on a rapist

  1. Peter Lawrence

    Rape is a hideous and degrading crime that apart from any sexual act invariably includes violence and domination of the victim.
    However, even accepting that a court has found Ched Evans guilty of rape this case raises a number of issues of concern quite apart from the rehabilitation of offenders aspect.
    1. The media has focused on the sleazy aspects of the case and (in my view) failed to report all of the facts. Can I suggest that anyone who is truly interested in the facts visits https://www.crimeline.info/case/r-v-ched-evans-chedwyn-evans
    2. Ched Evans (found guilty), and Clayton McDonald (found not guilty) both say the girl concerned consented, whilst she claims that she was so drunk and possibly still effected by drug use (see the case notes) that she remembers nothing at all about the events.
    3. Despite the legal position being that “a drunken consent is still a consent” (see case notes) the judge advised the jury that “A complainant consents if, and only if, she has the freedom and capacity to make a choice, and she exercised that choice to agree to sexual intercourse.”.
    My interpretation of this directive is that as she claims to have no recollection of any of the events including the sexual acts, then she must have been incapable of either agreeing to or refusing to engage in the sexual acts concerned.
    Whether or not to engage in casual sex is a lifestyle choice that each individual must make for themselves. However, the premise that if a ‘victim’ has no recollection of the event then it must have been a rape seems to me to be dangerously flawed.

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    • I had also read the full notes and share your questions and concerns. To reach a verdict the jurors would have had to weigh up uncertain and contradictory evidence and consider some really quite complex questions about consent and what it means to have the capacity to consent.

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  2. I agree that it is an awkward conversation to have with a child. I had to have this chat with my son – a mad keen Blade, aged 10 at the time of the conviction.

    “She said no Evans” was chanted by the opposition fans at every Sheffield United match from Oct 2011 to April 2012 – even before his conviction. It is still chanted sporadically now. Ched Evans will hear this chant ad infinitum whenever he plays again – even if his conviction is overturned.

    If Evans does join Oldham, and performs on the pitch, then it is inevitable that a proportion of the fans will have him as their hero. Let us not forget though. that the vast majority of fans in League One who see Ched play (95% in fact) will be cheering on Oldham’s opponents – surrounded by chants highlighting his crime.

    If Ched plays, the message most young male supporters will get is that rape is an abhorrent crime.

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  3. profreedan

    Or cheering on a murderer, or violent thug

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  4. Because your kids would be totally cool with the rest of the chants going on.

    “Daddy, who’s Emmanuel Adebayor?”

    Whilst I think that Evans shouldn’t play until the result of his appeal is announced, I am not sure that this sort of article is helpful. Should Joey Barton also be hounded out of football? Should Eric Cantona also have been?

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    • My view is that there should be nothing banning him from joining any club (or Barton or Cantona) but, in this case, I would like to see fans react.

      There is a big difference between a law being imposed and grass-roots efforts to shape the community in which they reside. This blog was an attempt to get pepole to think through the impact of having a convicted rapist would have on a community such as a local F.C.

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