Monday, June 27, 2011

Pressure mounts on Hearts to ditch sex offender Craig Thomson, is money more important to Hearts Football Club than ethics?

Dear All

Football is all about family entertainment that is the image that clubs portray to the world.

So, that image will be taking a bit of a knock at Hearts Football after their decision not to sack a convicted sex offender and player by the name of Craig Thomson.

Two children’s charities have been joined by the mother of one of predator Craig Thomson’s victims to speak out against the club’s decision.

He was convicted for targeting young girls on the internet.

Craig Thomson finds himself on the sex offenders’ register.

And he will stay there for five years as well as stumping up a fine of £4000 after admitting lewd, libidinous and indecent behaviour.

As well as being a Hearts player, he is also a Scotland Under-21 internationalist.

I would expect the selection panel not to select him again.

He targeted two young girls with indecent comments and naked photographs.

When the shit hit the fan, Hearts launched an internal investigation and following that have confirmed that he can resume his career.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has urged the club to keep him away from children during official duties.

Thomson has previously represented his club at an event with Barnardo’s.

A spokeswoman said:

“If Hearts continue to employ the player, they must make sure they manage the child protection risks of doing so. It will be important to make sure they do not put the player in a position where he would have contact with children.”

Kate Higgins, policy manager of Children 1st, said:

“We believe that Hearts football club needs to look again at this situation. Not taking action to protect children from the risk of sexual harm is unacceptable. Allowing convicted sex offenders to continue working where they will have direct and indirect contact with children is wrong.”

She has a point; plainly it would be wrong if Craig Thomson was ever allowed to come into contact with children, especially now that he is on the sex offenders’ register.

Hearts Football Club have scored a spectacular own goal.

It also sends out a very odd message in what is supposed to be a family club.

In a statement released on Friday, Hearts said:

“The club believes that there is no reason for Craig Thomson not to continue his career as a professional footballer and he will resume training with immediate effect. In reaching this decision, the club accepted that there are sufficient mitigating circumstances that provide significant assurance that the player’s conduct, no matter how distasteful, was the result of a grave error of judgment due to naivety and possible wrong outside influence rather than anything more sinister and it will not be repeated. The club views this matter very seriously and does not condone the behaviour of the player. Appropriate action to prevent any further development of unlawful activities has been taken.”

What are the sufficient mitigating circumstances in this matter?

‘A big boy told me to do it and ran away?’

This part of their statement interests me:

“Appropriate action to prevent any further development of unlawful activities has been taken.”

That is bullshit.

What Hearts fans and the general public have found out is an age old truth, football is a business and Thomson is a product line within that business of use.

Money makes the world go round so it seems.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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