Chad Evans is a Welsh football player. He was developed by Chester City who then sold him to Manchester City. He wasn’t good enough so they sold him to Sheffield United in 2009.
So far, this is a story repeated hundreds or thousands of times throughout football worldwide.
What sets Chad Evans apart is that in 2009, he was convicted of rape and sent to prison for 5 years.
[Although if you follow international media and some left wing Indian media, rape only happens in India and is a sign of patriarchy and the rest of the world especially North America and Western Europe are utopias for women where crimes against women are non-existent etc etc and its all Indian men’s fault (somehow shoe horn in the evils of upper class Indian men and you have the holy trifecta….somehow as an upper class Indian man its all my fault.)]
The case itself is a complicated one. As you can see from the BBC report, his friend was acquitted.
Now both Chad and his girlfriend has always protested his innocence. (Now why someone with a girlfriend will go and have sex with another woman is a moral problem, not a legal one) Chad admits that he had sex with the woman but it was consensual. He has appealed against the decision and the process is undergoing.
The judge and jury on the other hand had declared that the woman was totally intoxicated and so was not in a position to give consent, and thus it was rape.
Irrespective of what truly happened that night, he was convicted by the laws of the land and by a jury of his peers and that’s that. He was put into jail.
To further complicate matters, Evans is now out on bail, only 2 years after he was put in jail.
Sheffield United, the club he used to play for, offered him a chance to train with them and declared that they would think about offering him a contract.
This prompted the feminist Jean Hatchet to start an online campaign asking the club not to sign the player. The argument is that footballers are looked on as celebs and role models and if Evans is allowed back into the field it gives out the message that a. rape is ok and b. if you are a footballer, you can do anything.
Till date, there has been more than 160,000 signatories.
However, the club has stuck to its stand saying he has served his time and now needs to be rehabilitated into society, as per the criminal justice system.
All this has created a lot of controversy. An unfortunate outcomes has been the naming of the victim, who has been abused by a moronic section of the fans, who calls her a liar etc. Some have come up in support of the player saying that he has served his time and so should now be free to choose his profession while others have pointed out that just carrying on as if nothing has happened, especially in a high profile celebrity like profession, sends out a wrong message about violence and abuse towards women.
Now I am just a semi-intelligent, semi-paralytic, semi-educated layman.
But I have issues
1. If he was convicted of rape – a heinous crime, no ifs or buts – how is a 5 years sentence then justified? 3-5 years is the jail term for thieves, pickpockets etc. Giving a light sentence like that for a serious offence like rape dilutes and trivialises the heinousity of the crime. Else you are going into degrees of rape territory as if some rape is less wrong than others, which is frankly idiotic or moronic.
2. There should not be different rules for the rich and the poor (unless you are connected to a certain powerful political dynasty in India of course, they are above the law). We all agree on that. If you do a crime, you have to do the time. But what happens after a person has served his time?
The whole western legal system (but not the legal systems of the socialist utopias of USSR, China, North Korea etc or the model countries like Saudi Arabia) is based on rehabilitation of offenders into society. Its pretty simple, unless you punish someone with death or a lifelong sentence, you have to let him/her and enable him/her to pursue a (legally valid) career after his/her incarceration is over.
But it seems to me that some are actually advocating separate rules for the rich and the poor. Just because Chad Evans is a professional footballer and since professional footballers are in the media eyes and rich, some are advocating that he should not be allowed to play football professionally. What if he was a working class guy like a carpenter or plumber? I don’t think anybody would object if he went back to his old job (as long as the other employees are fine with it). Chad Evans knows only one thing – to play football. That’s his meal ticket. Should he be banned from doing that?
Should a person get special treatment because he is rich works both ways. You can’t choose one aspect over the other only when it suits you.
So what is to be done?
As always, I have a suggestion.
- Chad Evans should be allowed to play football professionally.
- He should also be forced (as a condition for employment) to donate a substantial part of his income to charity (preferably environmental or animal so that he cannot be accused of buying sympathy/support) and also be forced to do non-glamorous community service. What is glamorous community service? Well whenever a celeb is forced to do this, they often choose to work with children’s hospitals or orphanages etc (designed for the media and to generate sympathy in public). Chad Evans should not be allowed to do something like this. He has to serve in non-glamorous ways like garbage sorting/cleaning in the municipal dump.
- The club which employs him HAS to ensure that irrespective of his performance on the pitch they do not use him in any kind of promotional or marketing role. As per law, the man is an ex-con and as such there should not be any attempt by the club to portray him as a hero or role model in any way. There has to be a strict message to fans that any songs in support of him will be banned and the singer chucked out of the stadium.
- The sponsors HAVE to ensure that no matter how good he is on the pitch, they will not use him in promotions or marketing.
Basically, all and every effort has to be made to pass on the message that Chad Evans is not a role model and that what he has done is reprehensible, neither condonable nor to be forgotten.