IT would be unreasonable and counterproductive to suggest that a person convicted of a crime is undeserving of rehabilitation.

But when a person has talent - whether it is the ability to kick a ball, sing, act or be a colourful television personality - there exists a distinct increase in the threshold of what the public is willing to overlook.

I'm talking, of course, about Rangers Football Club's newest signing, Jon Flanagan. Mr Flanagan was convicted in January this year for an assault on his girlfriend.

I might, though, be talking about any number of sportsmen who brutalise women and are allowed back to their respective games, usually to a chorus of limp excuses for their behaviour.

"He wants to put the past behind him." Or, "He wants to move on with his life." Or "His life will never be the one he dreamed of."

The narrative around Jon Flanagan is no different. I've read one sports journalist refer to the incident as "an early morning scrap".

The court referred to the incident as “a prolonged attack”.

Another writer styled it, "issues in his personal life."

Barry Ferguson, the football coach, has written in Mr Flanagan's defence. He very briefly touched on the brutal assault carried out by the former Liverpool player before switching to his skills as a footballer.

“He can play right and left in defence." Well, that's alright then.

Gary McAllister, assistant manager of Rangers, said of the new signing: “He wants to get on with his life and his football life.

“The club is in talks and we are in the medical stages at the moment and that is going to be in-depth because Jon Flanagan has had problems in the past with parts of his body.”

Aye, his fists.

While everyone is tip-toeing around, let me summarise the circumstances of the offence.

Flanagan put one hand to his victim's throat and another to her neck before slamming her twice against a wall.

She fell to the ground and, while she lay there, he kicked her.

Think of all the praise Flanagan earns for his footballing abilities - his abilities to kick a ball hard, fast and accurately. Think about how that kick might feel to a person.

He has been through the court system, convicted and handed a sentence. Fine. He deserves a second chance, yes.

But can we please stop pussy-footing about the exact nature of the crime and call it for what it was: a brutal assault on a woman.

Domestic abuse is a serious issue, one extremely difficult for women to speak out about. Rallying around the perpetrators of violence against women, making them out to be the victims of their own sorry choices, does no good for either party.

It fails to make men live up to the consequences of their actions and it fails to provide women with a safe, supportive space to heal. No one is talking publicly about how the victims of these men put the past behind them and turn their lives back into the one they dreamed of.

By all means, let's see how Jon Flanagan conducts himself from here on in. But let's stop minimising his actions. Not a "bad choice". Not "an issue". A violent domestic attack.