United fans should not support convicted rapist

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I have seen a variety of opinions and comments on the conviction of Ched Evans.

I was acutely aware, a few weeks ago, I was cheering on a suspected rapist.

But after Evans’ conviction, things have changed. And it absolutely appalls me the way some people have behaved over this situation.

Whether I am a Sheffield United fan, a female or an Ambassador for Women’s Aid, my view is the same: sex without consent is rape.

Rape is rape; there are no conditions to it.

Maybe it is about time that football used its strengths to show that no matter who you are and how much you earn you are not above the law or human decency. Footballers are not above what is right and wrong. And football should be setting an example.

The influence that players’ behaviour has on young people in particular should not be underestimated.

It is about time that this was realised by all involved in the sport we all love.

And why are so many people forgetting who the real victim of rape actually is?

It saddens me that a disturbing amount of Unitedites are forgetting this. Nobody, whether drunk or not, deserves to be raped.

Evans has been given a five-year jail sentence. The rape victim has one for life.

I strongly disagree that any Blade should now be supporting him.

Evans is a convicted rapist for a reason. In any other walk of life would there be support for a convicted rapist? No! Why is football exempt?

Don’t be clouded. Evans is the one that has let our club down.

This weekend should be about Sheffield United as a club. We should stand ‘United’ as a team gunning for promotion, that’s the principle we Blades should be loyal too.

Meanwhile, on strictly sporting matters, we find ourselves in the exact position I didn’t want to be in but knew we would be.

It was never going to be plain sailing; if it was we wouldn’t be Blades, right? It seems each week the big ‘IF’ dominates ever stronger.

So this week the IF from a Unitedites’ point of view is: IF the Blades win and the Owls lose, the Steel City contest is over and finishes firmly with the red side. As much as it would be exciting for League One, I don’t want it to go to the final weekend.

As I wrote last week, United can’t underestimate how much Wednesday wants automatic promotion too. Does it come down to who wants it bad enough? I don’t think so; you only have to look at Sheffield as a City’s football attendances to see that both teams desperately want out of League One and both teams warrant it.

The Blades are in the pressure situation; the sort of position which really shows the character of a team and its manager. Adversity breeds character, let’s hope this character shines through against Stevenage, a side, who have won their last three to push into the final play-off spot but a team, that we should have too much for. We missed Evans as a striker against MK Dons last weekend but United are not a one man team. The Blades, as 11 players on the pitch, need to show they are a team. Danny Wilson will play a big part to make sure that the off-field issue of Evans will not carry itself onto the field.

Credit is most definitely due to the way Wilson has carried himself all season and the next two games will be a big test for him; he is a man carrying big hopes on his back.