Last month, Sheffield United and Wales centre-forward, Chedwin Evans was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment after being convicted of raping a 19-year old woman in Rhyl, South Wales last year.
The Case was brought to attention after the woman in question accused Evans, along with fellow footballer, Clayton McDonald of taking the drunk 19-year old to a nearby Premier Inn with the sole intention of having sex with her. Both McDonald and Evans confessed in a court of law that they did indeed have sex with the woman but insist that it was consensual.
After a lengthy court hearing spanning a number of months, McDonald and two other men whom were tried alongside Evans and McDonald were cleared and released. Evans however received a 5 year sentence from Judge Merfyn Hughes QC after a split jury decision.
This case has been thrust into the limelight for a number of reasons, both football related and non-football related. A major player in the public perception of this case is the seemingly harsh sentencing of 5 years, when compared to the clearance of all other participants. What’s more, recently, the football league named Evans in the team of the year on account of his 35 goals for promotion hopefuls, Sheffield United.
This action naturally brought the expected wave of controversy and negativity, many people saying that The Football League were glorifying Evans and detracting from the seriousness of the case.
It has to be said, that for Evans to be sentenced, and for football fans to hold any credible opinions, that football and Sheffield United’s personal aims must take a backseat and Evans must be tried and treated like anyone else on a rape charge, which, of course he was. Now, in light of this, The Football League, also are entitled to form their ‘Team of the season’ with no attention to personal matters as the two are unrelated.
Evans (23) scored 35 goals for Sheffield United and would surely have been named the clubs player of the year, and naturally the club has been greatly affected by the outcome of the trial; however they’ve made very little comment on the situation as it is not football related.
As this case shows, football players, though highly and widely revered, are still only human; and the seriousness of this case is not to be underestimated as any man, or woman is innocent until proven guilty; and Evans has indeed been proven guilty in a court of law. But if the public, foremost, the victim’s family and other rape victims wish for football to be left out of the judgement of the case, then the case should surely be left out of The Football Leagues decision making.