The subject has to be broached some time. Ched Evans, but I’m not comfortable writing about him.
The arguments on both sides are convincing, but it is not a situation where one is right and the other wrong.
Just a few points on the debate. First, I wonder how many of the reported 100,000 who have signed the ‘against’ petition are Sheffield United fans, or even football fans at all. Second, the suggestion that if Evans was a plumber or a builder he could return to his job is both correct and spurious. Plumbers and builders are not public figures. A more appropriate comparison would be a television presenter in the same situation. Would he be able to get his old job back? Probably not. Many have also pointed to the fact that footballers have returned to action after causing death by dangerous driving, but rape has a unique stigma attached that cannot be quantified.
Then we come to the notion that if United wanted him back he would jump at the chance. He might not - he might have better offers from other clubs, in which the case the problem would transfer somewhere else but would not go away.
Evans’ supporters seem to be of the deluded opinion that he would step straight back on to the pitch and score the first couple of the 25 goals he would get to lead United to promotion.
That would be highly unlikely, as it would take him months to get fit.
Do United really want to bring all the attendant hassle on themselves for the sake of someone who might hardly play?
The media attention and continued opposition could make the club form the opinion that it’s really not worth it. On balance, that would probably be the best course of action, but it’s a close call.