Why Hayne must be wiped from NRL history
Sex offender Jarryd Hayne's legacy must be wiped from rugby league history.
Hayne is appealing his sexual assault convictions. He was found guilty of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and his bundle of rugby league awards must be taken away from him if this conviction is upheld.
If he loses his appeal, Hayne should be asked to hand back his two Dally M Medals and the two Ken Thornett Medals he was awarded during his time at the Parramatta Eels. The 2009 Rugby League Players Association award should also be wiped.
Then there's the Brad Fittler Medal for NSW's State of Origin player of the series, which he won three times.
Hayne was a brilliant junior athlete, he is listed in the Westfield Sports High Hall of Fame on the school's official website; that honour needs to be erased too, especially after the horrific details that emerged in court, which led to a guilty verdict last week.
The details of Hayne's sexual assault of the then 23 year old woman on NRL grand final night in 2018 where revealed over the course of a harrowing six-month court process that had to be restarted when a previous jury was deadlocked. The victim described Hayne ripping off her clothing and performing digital and oral sex on her, even after she said no.
She described how, afterwards, Hayne washed blood from his face while she stood in a shower, watching bloody water running down the drain.
The woman said she was not sure "whether he bit me or cut me" on the genitals. Hayne testified he must have accidentally cut her with his finger.
On May 6, Hayne will face a sentencing hearing at Newcastle. Last week the judge Helen Syme described the prospects of the former Eels player going to jail as "inevitable". But as Hayne said on the Downing Centre steps last week, he plans to appeal. "I'd rather go to jail knowing I spoke the truth rather than be a free man living a lie," Hayne said.
Already behind the scenes a number of rugby league powerbrokers are considering and planning for what will happen if Hayne loses that appeal. There a distinct feeling at the very top of the game that if Hayne goes to jail the awards will be taken away from him. That there's no way that the game can be affiliated with him.
The future of all of Hayne's many awards are in the hands of the NRL, the RLPA, the NSW Rugby League and the NSW education department.
They all have the power to take a firm stance on violence against women.
A precedent must be set where the game shows the highest intolerance to sex offenders - whether they were contracted at the time of the offence or not - and not a blindness to the brutality of what has just happened.
The Australian understands the ARL Commission won't make a decision until the court process - including appeals - is complete.
When contacted by The Australian, the RLPA responded with a statement: "The RLPA board and management will give this issue full and proper consideration but no decision can be made until the legal process is exhausted."
Parramatta - who still have to decide on whether Hayne will be in time awarded a life membership and a spot in their Hall of Fame - will also wait.
The NSW Rugby League said: "It is not appropriate to be making any comment while the matter remains before the Courts (on appeal)".
The coming months will determine where Hayne is heading next and if the former NRL star goes to jail. The game must not stall on an opportunity to set a clear precedent on former footballers with criminal convictions.
Originally published as Why Hayne must be wiped from NRL history