Just days after Mason Greenwood’s disgusting revelations, where he was accused of assaulting his girlfriend, football club Raith Rovers has found itself amid a similar event. The Scottish club has gone ahead in signing their former player David Goodwillie from Clyde who had been labelled as a rapist after his involvement in a civil court case.
This decision has been met with severe criticism from the supporters, players, board members as well as sponsors. Several members have left the club feeling ‘disgusted’ by the signing. This has led to a serious crisis for the club’s reputation as this is being seen to bring about extreme negative effects for the future of the club.
David Goodwillie was signed on Monday for a contract extending up to the 2023-24 season. In 2017, the court ruled Goodwillie, along with his former teammate, David Robertson, for damages on the rape charge of Denise Clair in 2011. Since then the former Scottish striker had been with Clyde FC.
Raith Rovers had issued a statement regarding the signing of their former striker. The club stated: “As David has previously played for Raith Rovers earlier in his career, we consider him to be part of Raith Rovers Football Club.”
They further added that they acknowledge the “divided opinion amongst our loyal fans and commercial stakeholders” and “aim to rebuild that trust”. “While acknowledging the gravity of what happened ten years ago, as a club we fully support and encourage rehabilitation, and many factors influenced our signing.”
The club emphasized the fact that the signing has been based solely on Goodwillie’s “footballing ability”. However, this statement has once again led to further backlash and questioning of the club’s ethical and moral responsibilities
The Twitter backlash
That statement from Raith Rovers just now is ghastly.— Scott Innes (@Flying_Inside) February 1, 2022
Statement from Raith Rovers defies belief.— Fitbatweets (@fitbatweets) February 1, 2022
Raith Rovers first statement— Glasgow is Green Podcast🟢⚪️ (@gigpod) February 1, 2022
Raith Rovers second statement pic.twitter.com/2viHTq65O3
Am sorry but I can’t reiterate just how much of an absolute nuke of a statement that is from Raith Rovers. Absolutely no shame whatsoever. No coming back for them from this. Disgraceful— Kieran Ashton 🇧🇪🏴 (@kieran_ashton1) February 1, 2022
Yikes. I’ve just read that Raith statement and it’s horrifying.— Sophie (@sophierobbart) February 1, 2022
It’s hard to pick out the worst part of that pathetic Raith Rovers statement. But this fragment articulates the worst of rape culture.— Sophie (@firebird506) February 1, 2022
“He’s one of us,part of the family” – so he’s exempt from the consequences of his actions. pic.twitter.com/x35aVONGqN
That ‘statement’ from Raith Rovers is utterly sickening. To paraphrase it, it basically says “yes he’s a rapist, but this rapist scores goals!”— Kevin Slade (SD&CC) (@KevinSladeSDCC) February 1, 2022
This sport is broken & toxic. Fans need to find a way to own their clubs.
The resignation of the captain of Raith Rovers women’s team has been seen as one of the significant backlashes that the club has faced. The women’s captain Tyler Rattray announced in a statement: “After 10 long years playing for Raith, it’s gutting I have given up now because they have signed someone like this and I want nothing to do with it!”
Among the administration, club directors Andrew Mill and Bill Clark have resigned in protest. Along with them, supporter liaison officer Margie Robertson, recently appointed employability officer Marie Penman and stadium announcer Johnny MacDonald have also resigned as a form of protest. This protest has also echoed throughout the fanbase with many promising not to return to the stadium until Goodwillie leaves.
The club’s shirt sponsor and also best-selling crime author Val McDermid has also withdrawn her support from the club, calling Goodwillie’s presence in the club as “a stain on the club”. She has also criticized the club statement calling it a “fine PR strategy”.
The Raith Rovers women’s team is one of the oldest women’s teams in Scotland, and many fans and organizations also raising their concerns. Rape Crisis Scotland’s chief executive, Sandy Brindley has also condemned the signing, calling out the “entirely wrong message” that this brings about.