Marlon King was sacked by Wigan Athletic after being jailed Thursday for 18 months for punching a woman in the face and breaking her nose after she spurned his sexual advances.
King, 29, was convicted of sexual assault and causing actual bodily harm over the incident in a London nightclub in December last year, while he was on loan to Wigan’s English Premier League rivals Hull.
A court heard how King violently attacked the 20-year-old university student after groping her, during a night out to celebrate his wife’s pregnancy and scoring a winning goal hours earlier in Hull’s 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan told Sky Sports television King would be sacked after a mandatory notice period had expired.
“He is absolutely sacked – we will not tolerate football players who get sent to jail for 18 months. As far as we are concerned, he is finished with football at Wigan Athletic,” Whelan said.
“Young people look up to professional footballers and we must have standards. At Wigan we’re mad keen on setting standards and our players, generally, are absolutely brilliant,” he added.
“It can happen to any club – this has happened while the lad was on loan to Hull. I don’t blame Hull in any way, shape or form, but we have to stand up and be counted.”
King’s agent said plans to appeal against both his sentence and his sacking were in place, declaring the matter a case of mistaken identity.
“No one saw this coming in light of the evidence. He’s very, very disappointed – because clearly, as he said in his evidence, it’s mistaken identity. He didn’t do that,” Tony Finnegan told BBC radio.
“He’ll be devastated, sitting in a cell with someone tonight. But he’s a grown man; he’s been there before and he’ll take it on the chin.”
Jamaica international King, born in south London, has had several previous brushes with the law.
Newspapers reported Friday that King had a history of violence against women, including convictions for common assaults on two women he chased through London’s Soho with a belt wrapped round his fist in 2003.
King joined Wigan from Watford for five million pounds (8.3 million dollars) in January 2008 and Whelan said: “I do personally regret the day we signed him.
“I always thought his heart and soul wasn’t in being a professional footballer. We loaned him out last year, we were trying to off-load him this year and couldn’t.”
The court heard how King lost his temper with the victim in December after he was repeatedly “cold-shouldered” by women in the bar.
In an outburst of “completely gratuitous violence,” King lashed out at her, “smashing” her to the floor, the court heard.
In 2002, King spent five months in prison when found at the wheel of a stolen BMW car, an incident that happened after he’d been given a community rehabilitation order for trying to buy a laptop with a cloned credit card and damaging property when detained by store security staff.
King found himself involved in more off-field controversy when, in November 2008, he was allegedly involved in a fracas with Hull team-mate Dean Windass in a casino in Scarborough, northern England.
And in December – just days before the nightclub incident – King was banned from driving for 56 days after being caught speeding at 106mph on a road where the limit was 60mph.
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