There's one question I have for the "innocent until proven guilty" mob, so prevalent recently during rugby league's latest crises.
Which mob? You know, the guys who hear about the various sexual assault charges, or the (separate) sex video scandals, involving NRL players, and they respond in one or two ways:
- They're innocent until proven guilty - so they should be allowed to play until the court proceedings are over
- These are issues across society - so stop blaming football players.
Point 2 is simply nonsense. No-one says it is only footballers - although some have quite a propensity for doing it in the company of teammates.
People who invoke point 2 aren't trying to stamp out this behaviour society-wide. They just want the heat off players.
But my question is directed at the "innocent until" argument - point 1 - used to argue a player should not be stood down.
Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental part of our legal system. It means you don't get a conviction until it's proven.
It does not mean we have to pretend there aren't serious charges against a person, until the case has been finalised. It doesn't mean "head in the sand until proven guilty".
It's possible the players charged so far over the NRL's offseason of shame may all be found not guilty in court. And it's possible some may be found guilty.
But many blokes are adamant they should still play - because they're "innocent".
It seems this betrays a view (conscious or not) that crimes against women are somehow less serious.
How can I say that? Answer me this:
If a player was charged with serious terrorism offences - murders, perhaps - would you stick to your line that they should play?
Because an accused terrorist is still innocent until proven guilty - that's how the legal system works. Would the "innocent until proven guilty" mantra extend to someone accused of a horrific murder?
I thought not. Not a chance.
It would be "defending the (allegedly) indefensible".
But for some it's different when it's crimes against women - they find those accused are easier to innocent-until-ise.
This exposes a view that sexual - and violent - crimes against women are less serious than murder or terrorism.
There is a line where allegations are "serious enough" for a player to be stood down. We're not talking about parking tickets. Why should it not include murder or terrorism but not rape?
How about an honest answer to this question, before we hear any more nonsense.