The uproar over Sheffield United FC allowing disgraced footballer Ched Evans to train with them refuses to die down.
The club is yet to confirm whether they intend to re-sign their former player but it is clear to one of their biggest fans, Olympic champion and much-loved sports personality Jessica Ennis-Hill, what it will mean for her.
Ennis-Hill was honoured following her London triumph with a stand named after her, a source of great pride. However, that relationship is now at breaking point over the Evans situation, with Jessica Ennis-Hill stating;
“Those in positions of influence should respect the role they play in young people’s lives and set a good example…If Evans was to be re-signed by the club it would completely contradict these beliefs.”
It is clear that the champion is not on her own with her beliefs. Over 150,000 people have signed a petition urging the club not to take Evans back, whilst three club patrons have resigned, including TV presenter Charlie Webster (herself a victim of sexual assault) and at least one sponsor.
Whatever the technical legality of the situation and the moral debate over denying a sportsman his career, one cannot escape the fact that this is going to be a hugely damaging episode for the club, whatever they decide. They need to act swiftly and decisively before this situation worsens.
Being accused of “burying bad news” by confirming he was in training on Remembrance Day was a low point PR-wise…it might still get worse.