Ched Evans: Steve Bruce Questions Rape Conviction
Hull City boss Steve Bruce has questioned the conviction of rapist Ched Evans and says the footballer should be given a chance to play again.
Evans, who was convicted in 2012, was released from prison in October and saw a move to Oldham collapse this week.
The 26-year-old has been refused the right to appeal, but the Criminal Cases Review Commission is studying his case.
“I might be upsetting people but there is a question of the rape and how he's been convicted by a jury,” said Bruce.
“When you look at the evidence, it is there for appeal.
“It has divided opinion of course. When you look at the case in detail – and I don't think most people have really, because they have just seen Ched Evans as a convicted rapist – but when you look at the case and the evidence then certainly Ched has got a case.”
Bruce said he had spoken to Latics chairman Simon Corney and offered his support before the League One side ended their attempt to sign the Welsh striker on Thursday.
“I spoke to Simon. In my mind he has looked at the case and evidence and he was of the opinion to give the kid a chance,” added Bruce. “I'm a big believer that if you have done your time, you've done your time. Everyone deserves a second chance.”
Evans served half of a five-year sentence – the normal point of release – for the rape and was released on licence, which runs until the end of the five years.
League One side Oldham had said there was an “80% chance” of signing the former Wales international, before negotiations ended after death threats were made to club employees and sponsors threatened to withdraw their support.
Evans's former club Sheffield United also retracted an offer for him to use their training facilities following criticism from fans and sponsors.
Oldham drop their proposed move for Evans on Thursday following threats to the “club's staff and their families”.
Evans blames “mob rule” for the collapse of the Oldham deal.
Prime Minister David Cameron says it was “unrealistic” of Evans to expect he could return to football straight away.
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor appears to compare Evans's case to the Hillsborough tragedy in a BBC interview.
Taylor apologises for his comments, stressing he did not intend to cause any upset.
The Football Association says it may change its code of conduct in light of the Evans case.
Hull City manager Steve Bruce questions Evans's conviction and says he should be given a chance to play again.