Best-selling novelist ends team sponsorship after signing

KIRKCALDY, Scotland (AP) — A best-selling novelist has ended her sponsorship of a second division soccer team in Scotland following the signing of a player who was tried by a judge in 2017 for raping 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 pretense of being a community or family club”.

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

Goodwillie left England side Plymouth following the decision and has played for Clyde in Scotland’s bottom two divisions since then.

McDermid, who sold over £17million, was a Raith director and her name appears on the front of the team’s shirts.

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

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

“I will also tear up my subscription. It’s heartbreaking for me and for many other fans, I know.

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

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

“The beautiful game has gotten very lousy in Kirkcaldy,” McDermid added.

Raith women’s team captain Tyler Rattray has announced that she is quitting playing for the team after 10 years due to the signing of Goodwillie.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described McDermid and Rattray’s responses as “principled – albeit difficult for both”.

“But the fact that they are in this position,” Sturgeon said, “reminds us that our society still has a long way to go to make zero tolerance for sexual violence a reality.”

Raith is fourth in the Scottish Premiership and in contention for promotion to the Scottish Premiership.

The signing of Goodwillie, said Raith manager John McGlynn, was “crucial to the promotion of the club”.

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

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