It will take one hell of a ‘Spin Doctor’ to get Evans out of the mess he has created for himself
The Ched Evans case currently fills the sports pages and consumes social media coverage as the latest example of the focus that professional footballers receive when they transgress. The argument for the Court, in the Regina V Ched Evans Rape case, was over the question of if the girl has the capacity to determine for herself, if she wanted to indulge in sex with Evans. The Jury didn’t think so and he was found guilty and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, which was at the lower end of the sentencing band for such crimes (the scope for the sentence was between 4 and 8 years)
Evans clearly served the first part of his sentence causing no issues for the prison service and was released on licence to serve the rest of his sentence complying with the prisons and probation service as directed. It is worth noting for the massed ranks of Evans supporters and a large majority of the Oldham Athletic fans who wanted a £3 million striker for next to nothing, that he has not ‘served his sentence’ as is commonly believed. He has another two and a half years to complete.
The Evans camp, alongside the players union, the PFA, are supporting him getting back into football and don’t see any reason why he simply shouldn’t walk straight back into his chosen profession. They argue he has served his time and should be allowed to get back on with is life. This case does not appear to be as simple as that.
It is emerging through two failed attempts to get a professional contract that it will not be an easy job for Evans to reintroduce himself into his chosen profession as his supporters may have first thought.
Public outrage is the reason for the two clubs who have attempted to sign Evans, has effectively made the decision on not taking a chance on him. Many will argue it is nothing to do with the public who a club employs so why should public disquiet over an individual play any part in the decision to award him a playing contract. The very group of people whom seek to have Evans back playing again, ironically, creates the outrage. It is the public who are making the decisions on Evans not the football clubs. This must be infuriating for the Evans camp for, it is as difficult a court to appease as his original Jury in Caernarfon.
The public, with all of its pre conceived notions of pro footballers; both good and bad are the real arbiters of the moral code here. It is the public who the Boards of Directors are keeping a wary eye on as to how they perceive Evans. How can they ignore the public indignation over a guy who will financially, earn more in a month than many local people will earn in a full year or longer. Football clubs are in the business of selling so they can’t have bad vibes or bad press associated with them. Sponsors can’t be linked to convicted rapists however the Evans camp tries to spin his indiscretions. If sponsors are tarred with the same brush as Evans they lose sales, as the customers are the very people who make up their fan base. This equals bad PR for their brands as well as lost advertising budgets as they will not recoup their promotional spend.
This is the reason why most sponsors will pressurise the Board’s of football clubs to not take a chance on Evans. They cant take the risk. So, in a strange way, it is the very people who hero-worship and cultivate cult status who are effectively making the decisions on Ched Evans. It is hard to see which Board will ‘bite the bullet’ on Evans. He appears to be a toxic brand where in the world of Marketing and promotion, he is bad news.
Henry Winter takes a similar view in his piece ion the Telegraph today
It will take one hell of a ‘spin Doctor’ to get Evans out of the mess he has created for himself and it is not likely to be the Chairman of the PFA that achieves this for him.
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