Saturday 17 November 2018

Irish rugby has a perfect right to decide when players cross the line

Revoking the contracts of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding is not without controversy, but it feels fair, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding
Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

Eilis O'Hanlon

In hindsight, it was hopelessly naive for supporters of Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding to imagine that being found not guilty of the rape of a woman at a house party in Belfast in June 2016 would be the end of the matter. Securing the services of the best lawyers that money can buy won't save you from the court of public opinion.

Thousands of ordinary people looked on as the trial progressed and decided that they did not like the two men's behaviour at all. Nor did they like the treatment of the complainant at the centre of the case when she gave evidence.

Their collective voice has now ensured that the men will not play for Ulster or Ireland again, following yesterday's decision from the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) to revoke Jackson and Olding's contracts with immediate effect following an internal review.

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