Oldham’s choice over Ched Evans: money or morals

The club weighing up acquiring a convicted rapist need due diligence to be more than it currently appears – they must show human and moral understanding
• Oldham delay Ched Evans decision after outcry

Oldham Athletic, a homely sort of club, have appeared frozen in the spotlight of scrutiny and adamant opposition to their plan of signing Ched Evans despite his conviction for rape, which they finally acknowledged they are considering in a belated statement. The club’s board may previously have felt they could walk through the storm by relying on a basic justification, perhaps similar to that offered by the Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive, Gordon Taylor: Evans has served his time in prison and has a right to work.

That is true, yet his legal status is more complex than that, even before considering the moral objections to his re-employment in the hallowed game of football so soon after his release, having shown paltry contrition for what he did. Oldham ought to say whether they thought much about this before the uproar, in response to which their statement finally said they will carry out due diligence. That accountant’s phrase shines an unintended pointer to where football clubs’ priorities, for all their community programmes and claims to fans’ sentimental loyalties, too often lie.

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