DAVID WOODS COLUMN: Fallout from Adam Johnson’s case and Pardew for England boss

But the sordid affair must not be allowed to start a witch-hunt in the game.

The fear now is that any time a high-profile footballer is accused of a crime his club will immediately suspend him, not necessarily due to the seriousness of the charge but to avoid being criticised later on in the way Sunderland have been.

These are worrying times for fairness and decency and the now seemingly out-of-date concept of innocent until proven guilty.

Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne resigned this week because she had the information before her that England international Johnson had admitted to grooming and kissing a 15-year-old girl along with hundreds of incriminating text messages.

Yes, it is clear she had to go.

But hopefully this sorry affair will not automatically lead to instant public campaigns to sack or suspend any player who accused of something.

Besides, does it depend what the alleged crime is before deciding on whether to suspend a player?

Sex offences seem obvious. But what about drink-driving – especially where someone has been hurt or killed – or an assault charge?

Where is the cut-off point?

Will a player accused of avoiding paying his taxes be deemed worthy of suspension?

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