LONDON, October 30 – Marlon King was sacked by Wigan Athletic after being jailed Thursday for 18 months following a conviction for sexual assault and actual bodily harm.
King was sent to prison for an incident in a London nightclub in December when, while he was on loan to Wigan’s English Premier League rivals Hull, he groped a young woman and then broke her nose after she spurned his advances.
A striker with north-west side Wigan, King was found guilty of violently attacking a 20-year-old university student.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan told Sky Sports television King would be sacked after a mandatory notice period had expired.
"We have to follow the rules and regulations, which means we will have to give him 14 days’ notice that his contract will be cancelled," Whelan said.
"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 added: "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.
"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 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, 29, was celebrating his wife’s pregnancy and scoring a winning goal hours earlier in Hull’s 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough.
After he was repeatedly "cold-shouldered" by women in the bar, he lost his temper with the victim and in an outburst of "completely gratuitous violence" lashed out at her, "smashing" her to the floor, the court heard.
He had denied the charges, claiming he was a victim of mistaken identity.
Jamaica international King, born in south London, has had several previous brushes with the law.
In 2002, he 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.