Sunday 22 April 2018

You can win the verdict but still lose the public

Jackson and Olding are learning that reputations are fragile and there's a price to pay for every decision, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

UNDER FIRE: Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson, Craig Gilroy and Stuart Olding have all come under fire over their derogatory WhatsApp messages. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
UNDER FIRE: Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson, Craig Gilroy and Stuart Olding have all come under fire over their derogatory WhatsApp messages. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Eilis O'Hanlon

All of us have said things in private that we wouldn't be able to stand over if it ever came out in public. Friends let down their hair in one another's company.

Nobody should lose their job because of it. That includes Ulster and Ireland rugby star Craig Gilroy, who is under fire for taking part, nearly two years ago, in a WhatsApp exchange the morning after a party which led to fellow players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding being charged with rape. They were both unanimously acquitted at Belfast's High Court after a nine-week trial, together with Blane McIlroy, who had been charged with indecent exposure, and Rory Harrison, who had been charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Gilroy was the player, identified in court only by his initials, who asked about the party: "Any sluts get f*****?"

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