HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright has urged Hartlepool United to think again about possibly signing convicted rapist Ched Evans saying it would be “entirely wrong”.
Mr Wright, who regularly attends Pools matches, said Evans should not be allowed to make a living in a high profile sport after being jailed for such a serious crime.
The MP reacted to news that the club, which is battling relegation, is on the verge of signing the former Sheffield United player, who was jailed for five years for the rape of a 19-year-old girl in a hotel in 2011.
Mr Wright told the Mail: “He shouldn’t play for the club, simple as that.
“It sends out such a negative image of the club and of the town.
“I think it’s very significant that no other club in the football league wants to touch Evans and I can’t believe our club is even contemplating it.”
Mr Wright said he did not agree with the argument that Evans should be allowed to rebuild his career after serving his time.
He said: “He only served half his sentence so the idea he has served his time is a bit spurious.
“The combination of rape and high profile nature of football means that I don’t think convicted rapists should be allowed to earn a living playing football.
“There will be lads on the terraces at the Vic who look up to goal scorers and the idea of Evans scoring goals for Hartlepool and turning and getting cheers from the crowd is entirely wrong.”
Mr Wright also believes sponsors would turn their backs on the club if Evans was signed.
He said: “Firms and organisations will not want to be associated with a club that employs a convicted rapist and on that basis and the wider and important message it sends out I hope the club will reconsider.”
The news has sparked a fevered debate on the Mail’s website hartlepoolmail.co.uk and our Facebook page.
Amy Bowman said on Facebook: “Not a chance I’ll be going if you sign him and I think many will agree.
“If you sign him you’re advocating that someone who has committed such an awful crime is allowed the privilege of playing league football again.”
Another Facebook poster Brenda Batt Was Whittingham said: “Absolutely disgraceful and should be ashamed at the idea of it. Shame on Hartlepool.
“If it was your wife/girlfriend/sister who this happened to bet your opinion would be different”.
And Gemma Rhead wrote: “He shouldn’t be allowed to ply his trade as a footballer anywhere! I’m a believer in being given a clean slate but let him learn a new trade and start at the bottom and work his way up!!
“Pools shouldn’t employ him regardless of the desperation we’re in!!”
But Paul Mckie said on Facebook: “get the lad in and give him a chance we all make mistakes in life hes paid his dues....its a yes from me”.
Michael Hammond agreed and wrote: “Bring him in ... He’s done his time !
“Did everybody watch a Tyson fight after he got out of jail ?? Yep we did...”.
Andy Hopkinson said on the Mail’s website: “If Ched Evans is signed I would urge all supporters of hartlepool united to protest loudly at the thought of a convicted rapist being signed and would also urge fans to boycott the clubs matches and hit them where it hurts at the turnstiles so they cannot pay a criminal rapist his obscene wages.
“Evans is still on tag and has only served half his sentence so he is still effectively in prison serving time for a crime.
“And what kind of message does this send out to women and children that you can rape someone and go back to your job just because he,s a professional footballer.
“It smacks of one law for them one law for us.”
Another website user by the name of pensionater said: “Don’t think he should be signed personally.
“And if this is a example of things to come from the new management team, we might be better off without them as well.”