Ched Evans has been released from prison in the past week after serving two years of a five year sentence for rape, and there is a huge debate over whether he should be allowed to play football once again.
On one side there is the argument that he should not be allowed to return to a luxury job where he can be paid astronomical wages after committing such an appalling act, whilst others are arguing that he has served his time and should be allowed to have a job just as any other previous convict would be.
Of course once someone has served their time it is never easy just to walk back into life outside the prison cell, but they cannot be punished further after their sentence is finished by refusing them any work.
However returning to football is a totally different matter to other standard jobs. Ched Evans was thought to be on £30,000 before Sheffield United cancelled his contract. Ched still pleads his innocence and will be trying to get the verdict overturned when he is released. He aims to return to football after staying fit and healthy inside prison.
Working as a painter and decorator inside allowed him to earn some cash to buy fruit and nuts so he could stay in good condition. Whether a club would be willing to give him a contract remains to be seen, but taking examples of Marlon King, Gary Madine, and Luke McCormick then it is likely someone will take a punt.
Evans was a Welsh international before his sentence, and is a talented footballer. If he is taken on by a club then there is a good chance he can start finding the net on a regular basis and being adored by fans. If a young boy who has no idea about Evans’ past starts seeing him score goals for his favourite team then it could lead to an awful situation.
Would you want your son to start idolising a convicted rapist? To start requesting a shirt with his name on the back? Football is full of heroes and villains and there is no doubt that Evans will receive a lot of abuse from the opposition’s fans but he could also be cheered and applauded by his own team.
Whilst he has a right to return to a job and to earn money, no other job can lead to adoration and praise like football, and it doesn’t sit comfortable with regards to Ched Evans.