This is a bit of a ramble as opposed to a well thought our article, but here we go. Please note these are my feelings on the situation alone, and does not reflect upon other members of the Roker Report team. I know some have differing views to my own.
Yesterday we posted out a selection of thoughts regarding the ongoing Adam Johnson situation that we were asked by news outlets to provide.
Since then, I've had time to reflect further on what has been going on, and to be quite honest there are a number of things really bothering me to the point where I've felt compelled to write further on the subject.
I was asked fairly quickly after the guilty verdicts were reached by George Caulkin for my immediate thoughts on what had transpired for a piece which would feature in yesterday's edition of The Times. At that precise moment I was just disgusted, mainly that I had willingly supported and cheered a man for well over a year that knew he was guilty of sex charges against a minor. As well as being disgusted, my initial feelings were that I just wanted the whole sorry mess to disappear - though I'm just a fan, I wanted the ground to swallow me up. It hurt.
Over the course of yesterday, however, it became pretty much impossible to avoid the media storm surrounding the fall out of the guilty verdict. The first was upon turning on talkSPORT in the morning, where their main headline during the news was about Sunderland's role in Johnson being allowed to play on, and whether someone at the club was privvy to information that ultimately should have lead to Johnson never being allowed to play for us until the trial was over.
Certain members of the press have shown themselves up in light of what has gone on aswell.
Why does a journalist with over seventeen thousand Twitter followers, Luke Edwards, feel the need to send out a video of Sunderland supporters singing songs in support of Johnson from last year, BEFORE any charges had been leveled at him? What does tweeting out that video achieve, Luke, other than stirring up shit and painting Sunderland supporters as a whole in a bad light? You did so in a pathetic attempt to troll, and for that you should be ashamed.
There's no getting away from it, that video is pretty grim, but lets face it - it's a bunch of daft young lads on an away day singing songs about someone who hadn't even been charged up until that point. For Luke Edwards to post that to his thousands of followers knowing fine well all it will do is stir up trouble and ill-feeling is irresponsible.
A news reporter from Channel 4, Ciaran Jenkins, took to Twitter to criticise Sunderland for not allowing him to enter Sam Allardyce's pre-Southampton press conference because he wanted to quiz him on what the senior officials knew about Johnson. I'm sorry, but why on earth would Sam Allardyce need to answer questions on something relating to a time when he wasn't even at the club?
Sunderland AFC holding press conf 2pm. Won't let us attend. Won't answer Qs on Adam Johnson.— Ciaran Jenkins (@C4Ciaran) 3 March 2016
Q for Sam: did he consider impact on victim when continuing to select Johnson? @DavidQuarmby22 @arthurliverpool @DrDavidFleming— Ciaran Jenkins (@C4Ciaran) 3 March 2016
Both Jenkins and Edwards were using the situation as an excuse to increase their profile. Luke Edwards posted that video for attention, and nothing more.
My main gripe, however, is reluctantly and sadly with Sunderland football club.
I do think some media outlets have been unfair in the way that they've approached the situation and rather than using their journalistic pull to highlight key issues - many have done nothing more than sensationalise - but, to their credit, others like the Times and The Guardian have raised some very interesting points.
Personally, I feel that the club have a duty to answer for themselves regarding whether the allegations that a 'senior club official' was presented with evidence that suggested Johnson would eventually be found guilty.
It's a simple case of yes or no, and it's the question that almost everybody wants to hear the answer to. If we have nothing to hide, then come out and say it.