OPINION: Alex McKinnon has the right to sue for compensation
AS news broke that former Newcastle Knights player Alex McKinnon would sue the NRL and the player involved in the tackle that went so horribly wrong, the reaction was horribly predictable.
People rushed to judge a man who will be a paraplegic for the rest of his life, saying that they had donated to his cause and "would like their $30 back", arguing he had already been compensated by the NRL, which offered him a job for life after the tackle that left Alex paralysed.
As if there would ever be compensation enough for leaving someone on the brink of death.
Or losing the use of their legs, maybe forever.
In the days after the tackle, I hoped he would sue, do whatever it took to make his life as good as it could be.
People have been executing illegal tackles for years in the NRL.
Jarrod McCracken successfully sued after he was left seriously injured after a spear tackle.
But for some reason, people don't think Alex is owed a fair shot at life by the game that took that away from him.
They prefer to suggest he did it to himself by "ducking his head", the same disgusting reasoning argued by Storm skipper Cameron Smith in the moments after the tackle and taken to the judiciary by the player charged over the tackle, Jordan McLean.
As if they know what was going through Alex's mind.
No doubt he was disorientated after being lifted into a dangerous position and he was trying to protect himself.
Some say that Alex has a job with the NRL and that is enough.
The money he receives from the NRL will be factored in to the payout - and it should not be forgotten that the wage is probably a drop in the ocean compared to the ongoing medical bills Alex faces.
Others argue that this is an occupational hazard.
Someone who cleans windows from a 20 storey building also faces an occupational hazard, but I'm thinking if his equipment failed, you wouldn't quibble with a payout to his family.
People saying that he knew the risks can't possibly be suggesting that Alex or anyone anticipated he could end up in a wheelchair, possibly for the rest of his life.
It will cost millions for Alex to live a decent life, money he and his family do not have.
He needs more support than the NRL is willing to offer off its own bat.
His only remaining option was to sue.
I hope he wins and that it teaches the NRL a real lesson about cleaning up the game.
It's amazing to me that you can throw a punch and get sent off immediately, but bringing a player down on their head usually only warrants a penalty.
It should be an immediate send off.
After all, look at what happened when the NRL outlawed punching - players stopped doing it.
I suggest every player in the NRL learns how to tackle properly and refrains from lifting players into compromising positions if they want to avoid being sued.
Enough is enough.
Alex is not to blame. He is forced to live every day with the consequences of the NRL's decision not to crackdown hard enough on dangerous tackles.
Maybe everyone should think about being in Alex's position just a minute and think about what they would do in his situation.
Then they should thank their lucky stars for their health and the fact that they can walk.