Bestselling novelist ends sponsorship of team over signing

Jan 31, 2022, 3:49 PM | Updated: Feb 1, 2022, 5:51 am

KIRKCALDY, Scotland (AP) — A bestselling novelist has ended her sponsorship of a second-division football team in Scotland over its signing of a player who was ruled by a judge in 2017 to have raped a woman.

Crime writer Val McDermid slammed Raith Rovers’ decision to sign David Goodwillie on Monday as a “disgusting and despicable” move that “shatters any claim to be a community or family club.”

Goodwillie, a 32-year-old former Scotland international, and an ex-teammate at Dundee United, David Robertson, were ordered to pay damages of 100,000 pounds ($135,000) to a woman they raped, a judge ruled in a civil case in an Edinburgh court in 2017. No criminal charges were brought against either Goodwillie or Robertson.

Goodwillie left English team Plymouth following the ruling and has played for Clyde in Scotland’s lower two divisions since then.

McDermid, who has sold more than 17 million books, was a Raith director and her name is on the front of the team’s home shirts.

She wrote on Twitter she would be ending her lifelong support of the team.

“Goodwillie has never expressed a shred of remorse for the rape he committed,” she wrote. “His presence at Starks Park is a stain on the club.

“I’ll be tearing up my season ticket too. This is a heartbreaker for me and many other fans, I know.”

In a later post, McDermid wrote: “The thought of the rapist David Goodwillie running out on the pitch at Starks Park in a Raith Rovers shirt with my name on it makes me feel physically sick.”

She said it was “a terrible day not just for Raith Rovers but for women who support football.”

“The beautiful game just turned very ugly in Kirkcaldy,” McDermid added.

The captain of Raith’s women’s team, Tyler Rattray, announced she was quitting playing for the team after 10 years because of the signing of Goodwillie.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the responses of McDermid and Rattray as “principled — though difficult for both of them.”

“But the fact they’re in this position at all,” Sturgeon said, “reminds us that our society still has a way to go to make zero tolerance of sexual violence a reality.”

Raith is fourth in the Scottish Championship and in contention to get promoted to the Scottish Premiership.

Signing Goodwillie, Raith manager John McGlynn said, was “crucial to the club’s promotion push.”

“Every striker at the club will benefit greatly from his experience in matches and training,” McGlynn said.

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Bestselling novelist ends sponsorship of team over signing