Unless you have completely switched off from reality completely, you would have read, or heard about, a young man called Ched Evans, who has recently been released from prison, where he served half of a 5 year sentence for rape. Evans was (is, if you like) a professional football player and has attempted to resume his career upon his release, in the face of much opposition from various sections of society. Evans remains without employment. The debacle has raised many moral and social questions but one glaring lesson it has taught Evans, is that having the right representation is so important.
Whilst individual responsibility obviously plays a large part you also can’t ignore the wider cultural context. Go back a few decades and domestic violence was far more accepted, nowadays it is much less accepted. Were people then any different to us? No, but the wider background noise of society changes people’s boundaries.
If a high profile person (admitting that he’s hardly a top level player) is convicted of a serious crime then it’s a reflection of the wider society how he is then treated. Do I think it’s bad he’s being vilified for refusing to accept his guilt? Not really, but if it were ignored it all feeds back into the mix and moves things infinitesimally closer to being somehow acceptable.
Call it being a role model if you wish, but if a preponderance of individuals like Evans builds up because a forgiving precedent is set I don’t think that works for the general good. If it’s a condition of a high profile job to be sponsor friendly that he can’t meet then he’ll have to find something else to do with his life. Ultimately if he keeps going people will get Ched Evans fatigue and the protests will die down.
Equally it doesn’t work to the general good to hold everything against him (or anybody else) forever, but ultimately his current situation comes from a failure to manage the situation well. Had he used all of the media platforms available to him upon his conviction and subsequent release to categorically denounce the crime that he had been convicted of (without necessarily admitting guilt), I very much doubt that the opposition against him resuming a career in football would have been quite as virulent. To belatedly attempt to distance himself from a website that seeks to discredit a victim of rape smacks of desperation rather than a genuine attempt at some form of remorse as did the rather feeble video statement he released shortly after his release.
One could argue that all of this is essentially moot, given that at least two clubs that Evans has had discussions to return to have bowed under the significant financial pressure placed on them by their sponsors who threatened to immediately cease support, showing that, above all, it’s ultimately money, and not morals, that run the nations favourite and most popular sport.