Wednesday 24 October 2018

Brian O'Driscoll: 'Any misogynistic undercurrents that might exist within the game need to be stamped out'

Brian O'Driscoll revelling in the success of Irish rugby in 2018
Brian O'Driscoll revelling in the success of Irish rugby in 2018
Brian O'Driscoll. Photo: Sportsfile

Max Ryan

Brian O'Driscoll believes that the public's disquiet about the acquittal of Ulster's Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding left the IRFU with no choice but to sack the pair.

Speaking on Newstalk's Off The Ball, the former Ireland captain said that regardless of their motivations, the governing body were justified in their decision.

"You can probably only speculate whether it is based on moral or commercial grounds," he said. "I'd imagine probably a bit of both but there is no doubt which is well documented in the papers at the weekend that there was pressure from sponsors.

"I think from the IRFU's perspective they were left with no option but to sever ties with Stuart and Paddy."

The decision to release Jackson and Olding has been met with ire by some Ulster fans but O'Driscoll says that the backlash would have been greater had the two players been kept on.

"We got a taste of it in the Kingspan Stadium and had the decision been different you probably would've seen more of that," he said. "I think the IRFU moved swiftly to try and end the situation and end the slur on the reputation of the game."

While it is difficult not to focus on the negative outcomes of the trial, O'Driscoll hopes that it will force people within the sport to identify and eliminate harmful elements of its culture.

"In all negative situations you have to try and draw some positive," he said. "I think that is highlighting the consent issue and any misogynistic undercurrents that might exist within the game and stamp them out."

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