It is important that nothing prejudices that trial. This will include comment on social media.
At the time of the last feminist action on this issue Evans was, according to the UK criminal justice system, a convicted criminal. The main focus of that action was not on the individual, Evans, but on the inappropriate employment of any footballer who had been convicted of the heinous crime of rape. That was heavily discussed at the time. It does not need to be revisited here as the circumstances around Evans have changed.
That conviction was quashed and Evans is now awaiting retrial for rape. It is very important that the trial proceeds in a fair manner and any allowable new evidence is presented and treated accordingly by defence lawyers for the CPS. I hope that it will be robustly challenged and I am sure that it will be.
The key contentious issue remains in that the relevant governing bodies in football, the FA and the PFA, are unwilling to issue employment guidelines for footballers who commit acts of sexual violence. It should be clearly established by those governing bodies that any player accused of an act of such a serious nature should be suspended pending trial. This would be usual in many other employment contracts and in most other employment areas. Football is not unique.
Chesterfield FC need guidelines from those governing bodies. Their moral compass and pursuit of goals and profit, clearly does not allow them to make a sensible judgement on this and their current action in pursuing a contract of employment, with a player accused of a serious sexual offence, is morally repugnant. I hope that the majority of decent fans of the club will communicate their dissatisfaction with that appointment.
I call upon the FA and PFA to act swiftly to rectify their inaction on this matter, as it is clear that this is an issue which continues to be problematic. The Adam Johnson case was similarly murky regarding his continued employment and Sunderland had very unclear guidelines and subsequently made poor decisions. It is obvious from the current comment on social media that the views of many young men are being formed by this particular employment contract, provided to Ched Evans by Chesterfield FC, and those views are deeply unpleasant, at best, regarding women and girls.
I call upon the FA and PFA to work quickly to establish employment guidelines for their teams of employers, so that this kind of situation does not arise again. I would hope that pressure from the governing bodies would enable Chesterfield FC and other clubs to realise that a trial for rape is a grave matter. Their endorsement of the accused will have a profound effect on the views of our young men and women. If they are in any doubt about that I would refer them to the following.....
Or pay attention to the hashtag here......
There are worse examples. They will keep rolling in. Views will continue to be formed on this until the body that should take charge stops avoiding the issue and does their job.