Hard Shot Gives Felon Footballer a Second Shot
Maxim Molokoedov found out the hard way that he should have stuck with his day job.
Smuggling six kilos of cocaine while touring South America didn't work out.
His roster spot on on a lower-division football club in Russia apparently wasn't paying the bills, so Molokoedov decided to enhance his income by bringing blow from Ecuador back to his homeland via Chile. He didn't realize they've got a clue down there when it comes to drug detection.
In a sense, Molokoedov is lucky. Getting busted in Chile is preferable to getting busted in Mother Russia. Other amateur smugglers of the Russian persuasion made poorer choices in their selection of crime scenes, especially when they hadn't learned that a universal skill of government employees is an ability to bungle anything. He should also have realized that if agents can find cocaine in here, then stashing the payload inside childrens' books -- as he did -- is probably not a viable option to elude exposure.
So, how does one spend three years in a Chilean prison? Apparently, staying out of the way. Playing football in the yard worked well for Molokoedov. Very well, indeed. Prison economies and social structures are different, to say the least, so when soap and deodorant were offered as payment for soccer skill clinics, that's all the motivation Molokoedov needed.
Before long, a Latin American version of The Longest Yard broke out, and fortunately, it had a more promising ending for the reformed Russian. Training with a Chilean football club on work release and then signing with them upon release makes for a sweet transition back to the working world.
The aptly named Santiago Morning is offering a new dawn for Molokoedov.
And give some props to Chilean society. It's hard enough in most countries for felons to put that stigma behind them. Yes, in this case, it's the relative celebrity of a footballer gone good again, but Molokoedov was never a top-level star and Morning is a second-tier side that has won only one title since its founding in 1903. That this scenario is playing to positive reviews is more than can be said, had it happened elsewhere.
Instead of hard time, Chile allowed an opportunity for someone to know good times once again. The right way.