SCOTTISH crime writer Val McDermid has ended her sponsorship of a football club after it signed player David Goodwillie who was found to have raped a woman, it was reported today.
Raith Rovers, based in Kirkcaldy, Fife, announced on Monday that it had been taken on the striker.
But the world-renowned author took to social media to protest at the Stark’s Park deadline day signing from Clyde after it was ruled by a judge in 2017 that Goodwillie had raped a woman.
Ms McDermid, who has been a lifelong supporter of the club, said: “I have this morning ended my lifelong support of Raith Rovers over their signing of the rapist David Goodwillie.
“I have canceled next season’s shirt sponsorship over this disgusting and despicable move. This shatters any claim to be a community or family club.
“Goodwillie has never expressed a shred of remorse for the rape he has committed. 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 civil case at the court of session in Edinburgh in 2017, Goodwillie and former footballer David Robertson were ordered to pay damages of £100,000 to a woman they had raped, a judge ruled.
No criminal charges had been brought against either of them.
In a later post on social media, Ms McDermid said: “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 the move was “a terrible day not just for Raith Rovers but for women who support football.
“The beautiful game just turned very ugly in Kirkcaldy,” she added.
Goodwillie’s arrival has been described as “crucial to the club’s promotion push” by manager John McGlynn, calling him “the top goal scorer in Scotland.”
The captain of the club’s women’s team, Tyler Rattray, announced she was quitting playing for the team today.
In a tweet, she said: “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!
“It was good being captain of Raith while it lasted.”
Nicola Sturgeon supported both Ms Rattray and Ms McDermid’s decisions saying they are “principled – though difficult for both of them.”
The First Minister added: “The fact they’re in this position at all reminds us that our society still has a way to go to make zero tolerance of sexual violence a reality.”
Rape Crisis Scotland supported Ms McDermid’s decision.
In a statement on Twitter, the organization, which works to end sexual violence, said: “This has no doubt been an incredibly difficult decision for Val McDermid, but it is one we support wholeheartedly.
“When it comes to sexual violence we need zero tolerance.”
MP for north-east Fife Wendy Chamberlain said the move to sign Goodwillie was an “appalling decision” by Raith Rovers and one that will have “serious consequences for them in terms of how they are viewed in the community.”
“David Goodwillie has never apologized or expressed an ounce of regret for his actions,” she said.
“I urge the club to think again.”
Raith Rovers have been contacted for comment.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.