RUGBY LEAGUE: The National Rugby League is facing a potential fan backlash after the governing body declined to put sanctions on the player eligibility of rape accused Jack de Belin.

The St George-Illawarra and NSW State of Origin lock faced court in Wollongong for the first time this week after charges of sexual assault were levelled at him following an incident in December.

Gruesome details emerged in which police alleged the star player held down and raped a female before inviting an onlooking friend to also "have a go".

But the Dragons have insisted that de Belin is innocent until proven guilty and will be allowed to play as the case is ongoing in the courts.

Should he be allowed to continue, or should the NRL have stepped in and stopped it?

 

Jack de Belin of the Blues (centre) celebrates with team mates in the change rooms following their win over the Maroons in Game 2 of the 2018 State of Origin series between the NSW Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Sunday, June 24, 2018. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Jack de Belin of the Blues (centre) celebrates with team mates in the change rooms following their win over the Maroons in Game 2 of the 2018 State of Origin series between the NSW Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Sunday, June 24, 2018. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY DAN HIMBRECHTS

MOOSE ELKERTON: The game needs to get serious about respect to women

RULING Ben Barba out from returning to the game was a start, but if the NRL are truly serious about respect towards women, then Jack de Belin needs to go as well.

The first recounts of what de Belin did last December reached the public this week and the details are gruesome.

Allegations of repeated rape and even acts of gang rape were revealed in the police facts during his trial this week, but despite that, the St George-Illawarra Dragons are happy to let him play for the club while his trial is ongoing.

Not only that, they have the backing of the NRL to do so.

A strange turn-of-face from the game's governing body who only last week trotted out a hard line against any player who is even alleged to acts violently towards a woman.

Barba wasn't even charged by the police before he was permanently rubbed out from the game.

While I understand the concept of innocent until proven guilty, there is more to think about in this situation than just the course of justice.

Not only do these allegations against de Belin bring the game into disrepute, it also sets a terrifying example for youth coming through the ranks.

What de Belin is being tried for is on the very grave end of the scale of violence.

While we cannot prejudge innocence, I think there is a requirement of the NRL to stand any player down until such time as the trial is complete.

And if there is any chance de Belin pulls on a Blues jersey this year, I'm moving north.

JARRARD 'POTTSY' POTTER: Jack's innocent until proven guilty

THE latest news to come from the court proceedings against St George Illawarra Dragons and Blues back rower Jack de Belin has caused shock and outrage across not only the rugby league community but the broader Australian public - and rightly so.

Just to be clear, the crimes he is accused of committing are abhorrent and if found guilty he has no place within rugby league, let alone decent human society, and he and his co-accused should be punished severely and to the fullest extent of the law.

If he is found guilty, that is.

With many quick to judge after the first disclosure of the allegations de Belin is facing, it undermines the basic premise of our legal system that any person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty.

The onus is on the prosecution to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, the accused is guilty of the crime.

A quirk of our legal system is that allegations a person is facing can be published, while we have to wait until the actual trial to hear the other side of the story.

Until then, it's at the employer's discretion as to whether a person is able to keep their job. St George and the NRL have obviously deemed it appropriate for de Belin to remain at the club and train and play, as an innocent person until proven otherwise.

The NRL has been rocked by allegations of sexual assault in the past, only for the truth to be revealed and the allegations found false. We will just have to wait until we get the full story.



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