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article imageOp-Ed: Football players in the news for all the wrong reasons

By Alexander Baron     Jun 16, 2012 in Crime
Footballers - those who play soccer and its variants - are for some strange reason among both the most highly paid and highly admired men worldwide. Unfortunately, they often make the news for the wrong reasons.
Remember Ched Evans, the top British soccer player who is now serving five years for rape? He had some bad news and some half good news late last month. The bad news is that he has been released by his club, Sheffield United. The half good news is that his legal team have lodged an appeal against his conviction. Unfortunately, appeal is something this fellow has very little of; he stood trial with another player, who was acquitted, and his defence appeared to be why would I need to rape a woman when they are coming at me from all directions? Man, ain't I the cat's pajamas?
In the UK, alleged victims in rape cases are protected by anonymity enforced by law, unless that right is waived or the circumstances are such that it is impossible for anonymity to be maintained. The name of Evans' victim was leaked, and appeared all over Twitter, as a result of which the police were said to have made no less than seventeen arrests.
Another, younger player, who could be in even bigger trouble than Evans is 18 year old Andrew Hall of Stoke City Academy. This week he appeared in court charged with the murder of a 15 year old girl. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.
On the other side of the Atlantic, former University of Illinois football player Steven Feagin was convicted of the 1995 rape of a student. As might be suspected, this was a conviction made possible by DNA evidence. Mr Feagin's problems appear to be just beginning because he was actually arrested in connection with a 2007 rape in Florida, where he had relocated. This is a man who has even less appeal than Ched Evans, as now he appears to be facing at least one further trial.
Finally, another American university player has been charged with rape and is now out on bail. The 18 year old Praise Martin-Oguike is accused of the aggravated assault, forcible rape, sexual assault, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment of a 21 year old fellow student, among other charges.
As with the case of Andrew Hall, it would be inappropriate to comment further, but the very least that should be said is that these men should not put themselves in these sort of positions, as a perusal of the reports linked above with testify.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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