PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has moved to clarify his organisation’s stance on jailed striker Marlon King.
King was jailed for 18 months last week after being found guilty on charges of sexual assault and ABH, and he was immediately fired by Wigan Athletic.
There have been calls for the 29-year-old to be banned from football for life, while there have also been claims that King has the support of the PFA.
However, while Taylor says the organisation is prepared to help King with his rehabilitation, he insists the PFA is not defending his actions.
A statement from Taylor on the PFA’s official website read: “Media headlines stating that the ‘PFA backs Marlon King’ are somewhat misleading and can send out the wrong messages about the values we hold.
“All along we have said that the PFA does not represent, nor defend, players when they have broken the law and been convicted on non-footballing matters. Nobody is condoning Marlon’s actions. He has done wrong and is paying the penalty.
“No player is above the law and whatever punishment is meted out for players convicted of such offences has to be accepted. You cannot defend the indefensible.
“What we have said, and will continue to do so, is that when Marlon – or any other player come to that – has served his time we, as the players’ union, will be there to support him through our various rehabilitation programmes.
“Even whilst he is in jail, where I would imagine there will be opportunities for him to address his obvious problems, we would be prepared to offer what help we can, if asked. It is down to him.
“It is a PFA policy that if any member with anger management or other issues approach us for assistance we are always happy to provide that assistance through the Sporting Chance Clinic, as has been the case with other such high profile cases.
“Everybody in life can have big problems to face and this is probably Marlon’s biggest and I hope he’s able to overcome it, and if he needs help to get his life back on track I assure you we’ll be there for him.
“Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has said that Marlon King will never play for his club again, and that is his prerogative, whilst the assault victim herself has called for the player to be banned from football altogether.
“In the case of Marlon, if he serves his time, is contrite and shows a willingness to get his life back on track then he has the right, as an individual, to return to the profession where he has applied his trade.
“It is a serious situation, of course, but I would hope with the passage of time and with the right approach from Marlon, he has the willingness to get his life back on track. He still has a family to support.”