Here we go again.
To all the men shrieking "presumption of innocence" about Sydney Swans player Elijah Taylor, whose former girlfriend used Instagram to accuse him of horrific domestic violence, must we really spell it out again?
Of course he's presumed innocent - in court. It's a legal concept. If you're accused of a crime, the judge/jury must presume you're innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Of course.
But it's not a rule for people's opinions. You're still free to have your own opinions about anyone and what they may or may not have done. So am I, and so is everyone else.
Yet here we are; you're at it again. Like when another high-profile football player, Jack de Belin, was charged with raping a woman in Wollongong, and was stood down from the Dragons. "Presumed innocent!". "Let him play!"
And it wasn't long ago that Seven commentator Bruce McAvaney, commenting on Collingwood star Jordan de Goey being charged with indecent assault, described it as a "hiccup" for his football (McAvaney apologised).
It's hard to strongly presume someone is innocent when a woman has made detailed accusations. You can't just pretend they don't exist. Given the history of silence and disbelief that has defined domestic violence, that would not be fair or healthy.
When you call out "presumption of innocence!" you're telling people they should assume he didn't do it, when the woman involved said he did.
I don't presume Taylor is innocent. That would require presuming his accuser is lying. I don't presume Taylor is guilty and I'm not saying the allegations are true. The AFL is investigating but he hasn't been charged with anything.
You don't have to presume anything. Any potential court process could take years and you can't expect everyone to keep quiet for that long. Unless silencing is your purpose.
Being a Swans fan, this hurts a bit more - particularly as Taylor was given the number 37, the same guernsey worn by the great Adam Goodes, which seemed to be a huge vote of confidence in his character. But the feelings of sports fans like me matter not a jot.
As one decent man said on Twitter: outside of a legal framework, Taylor is not "innocent until proven guilty". He's either innocent or he's guilty. And you, I, or anyone else can choose to believe his accuser if we wish.
You don't have to say "he's innocent until ...". You can say: "They must get to the bottom of this because domestic violence happens too much in this country and it needs to stop".
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