OPINION

Jack De Belin's footy career on hold, spare me the pity party

Please don't invite me to the Jack De Belin pity party.

De Belin is a talented football player for the St George Illawarra Dragons, who is facing a number of sexual assault charges related to a single incident in 2017.

It is not our place to determine his guilt or innocence - that is for the courts to decide.

Now his court date has been set - for March of next year - some footy fans' biggest concern seems to be how his trial will affect his career.

One of the charges against him is so serious it carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Picture: Adam McLean.

Picture: Adam McLean.

According to court documents, De Belin weighs 106kg. His alleged victim weighs 51. It is alleged that as he raped a woman half his size, at times he had his hands around her throat.

But for some, the gravity of those allegations pales in comparison to the possibility that De Belin will miss another football season.

Let's put aside for the moment that De Belin is not being prevented from pursuing a career as, for instance, a cancer researcher, but rather from playing sport.

If he is found not guilty, or if the allegations are found to be false, some fans might say he has a right to feel hard done by.

Those concerned he will miss a season due to false allegations might be interested to know that the chances of that happening are about one in 40,000.

Here's the maths.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says 80,200 people in Australia - men and women - over the age of 18 were sexually assaulted in the year 2016-17, and about 30,900 of those assaults were reported to police.

A study out of Victoria found, of 850 rape reports from 2000-03, 2.1 per cent were designated by police as false - 2.1 per cent of 30,900 is just under 649.

There are about 25 million people in Australia at the moment. Divided by 649, we get 38,520.

De Belin may well be found innocent, and it would surely be a disappointment to him and his fans that he lost some time on the paddock.

But it's not uncommon for people in Australia to be stood down from their professional role while an investigation about their personal life is underway.

Late last week, a police officer in Western Australia was stood down after allegedly causing a four-car accident while he was off duty.

In April, a Melbourne doctor was stood down after he admitted to posting a series of sexist and racist comments online.

For a person accused of any other violent crime - say, a one-punch attack - we would want to see that case progress through the courts.

We would value the safety of our community over the career of an individual.

So regardless of the outcome of the De Belin case - I'm not interested in the pity party.

This story Spare me the Jack De Belin's pity party first appeared on South Coast Register.