INNOCENT until proven guilty.
It is a fundamental tenant of our legal system whereby until a verdict is reached, a person is entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Even when someone does something particularly heinous, if that person pleads Not Guilty then we must presume that is exactly what they are until a decision is reached.
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This system also applies to rugby league.
Greg Bird, David Taylor and Beau Falloon have all been charged, but they have all entered pleas of not guilty.
So that is what they are.
They may not have ever watched A Current Affair in their lives. They may simply have been in a house where someone else was watching. We don’t know.
But as this story’s headline points out, once ‘alleged cocaine dealers’ in every article creates an unfair perception about their innocence.
I am really not sure why the Titans had to spend millions of dollars on lawyer fees, and go through two weeks of speculation and ‘will they be picked or wont they’ nonsense.
This Sunday Bird, Taylor and Falloon will play for the Titans.
As of right this moment, all they have done is been accused of and charged with a crime.
They are innocent as of now, as of Sunday night – right up until the moment the verdict is given.
Don’t get me wrong, if they are guilty, then they deserve any punishment the Titans wish to hand out, and each man will know in his heart whether they have simply bought time with a not guilty plea or whether they honestly believe in their innocence.
But until that time when we KNOW, they are just three footy players playing the game they love.
Media, teammates, fans – no one should treat them any differently.
I for one will be interested to see how the Titans go this weekend.
Coach Neil Henry will have no excuses to hide behind if his side gets rolled against the Knights at Robina on Sunday.
He has a full strength side, the side he wanted.
All the Gold Coast wants is a competitive footy side.
In week one against Wests we were competitive, but the Tigers could not have played worse let’s be honest.
Against the Panthers last weekend we were exposed massively on both edges. No side should lose 40-0 in this competition.
So don’t fuel the idiotic speculation about the innocence or guilt of these (or any) player. That is for the courts to decide.
Your job, the vastly more important one, is to hold them to account on what they do ON the field.
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