Ched Evans desperately needs some reputation rehab

Oldham has declined to sign Ched Evans.

Ched Evans: Needs some good direction
Ched Evans: Needs some good direction
So Evans now doesn’t just need a club, he desperately needs some good direction. 

He may have had it weeks ago and chose to ignore it but in order to stand any chance of playing anytime soon, he has to step up, grow up and let his actions on and off the pitch do the talking. 

PR alone won’t help – as anyone working in the sector will tell you – we can supply good advice; we just need clients with the sense to listen to it. 

Up until now Evans has broken almost every command in the Reputation Rehab Rule Book. 

Clearly Evans stands by his innocence – which is his right – and under such circumstances it is perfectly reasonable that he doesn’t express remorse about the crime of which he has been convicted, especially as it is under review by the CPS.  

However, he seems to be completely unaware that the situation he found himself in was repugnant to most people; sex with a teenager incapacitated to any degree through alcohol is – and should always be – socially unacceptable. 

He also appears staggeringly ignorant that many people regard sportsmen as role models and that a large degree of shame, rather than defiance, about the situation would be the very least fans could expect.

Recognition of the circumstances surrounding the conviction and consequent remorse would be an appropriate first step. 

Better still working with the PFA, youth groups or doing work for women’s refuge centres may seem contrived but it certainly shows a degree of rehabilitation.

Even if you are deemed not guilty of a specific crime, publicly acknowledging that the surrounding circumstances were sordid and morally dubious would be intelligent.

Undeniably footballers get to live the dream, actually all sports people do.

Even if they aren’t one of the high rollers they get to make a living out of playing sport and many of us would have loved the chance to do the same. 

The flipside of this is that any self-inflicted fall from grace is deemed to be of public interest – and the interested public is a sizable one.

Today’s athletes and players enjoy a degree of celebrity so all misconduct, be it sexual, drugs, alcohol, financial or managerial, is fair game as a talking point and everyone is allowed an opinion, regardless of their mandate, credentials or knowledge.

The flipside is that sportspeople also enjoy the very powerful ability to redeem themselves through results.

Evans will probably find himself in a much happier place if his on-pitch contribution sees his eventual club (and there will be one) achieve great things. 

He could find himself there much quicker – and probably more completely – if he did something positive to atone for his actions. 

Even if it eventually transpires that he is not a criminal, the label ‘rapist’ is going to be a hard one to shake off.

Rebecca Hopkins is managing director of ENS

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