It can be horrifying to find out what goes on behind closed doors, particularly if it involves people you thought you knew. Every fan, fellow player and captain he’s ever had must have been aghast when Sunderland winger Adam Johnson pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a child under 16 years of age this week. He had apparently groomed the 15-year old schoolgirl and performed lewd acts with her on more than one occasion.
Not surprisingly, Sunderland has terminated his contract. The club released a statement on Thursday evening, declaring, “In light of Adam Johnson’s guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect. The club will make no further comment.” Initially, the intention was to simply take him off the match against Manchester United on Saturday, but the understandable uproar over his heinous misdeeds was enough to prompt the club to cut ties with him altogether.
Adidas has also terminated its boot sponsorship with Johnson immediately following the charges. Not that he’d be able to do much if he does get a prison sentence for grooming, which may last up to two years and six months. One wonders why he won’t get a prison sentence for the sexual acts themselves.
Coming out of the academy set-up at Middlesbrough as a teenager, Adam Johnson earned £7 million for a move to Manchester City in 2010. However, he lasted 2-and-a-half years at City before being deemed surplus to requirements and being snagged by Sunderland boss Martin O’ Neill for earnings to the tune of £10 million. It seems a waste that he would throw all that away to abuse a child, but who really knows the workings of a sick mind? We only hope that he gets convicted properly for his crimes and receives all the help that he needs.
As for the poor girl, we really wish her the very best in her path to recovery and hope that this scarring experience does not become her primary association with football.