Belfast Telegraph

Revealed: The 5 responses to Jackson, Olding sackings considered by Ulster rugby fans

Ulster and Ireland internationals Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson have not played for almost two years.
Ulster and Ireland internationals Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson have not played for almost two years.
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Ulster Rugby fans are considering five options as a response to the sackings of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding over the weekend.

The two players were unanimously acquitted of rape following a nine-week trial in Belfast. 

However, over the revelations of lewd text exchanges revealed during the trial the IRFU and Ulster, following an internal review, revoked the pair's contracts saying in coming to the decision they acknowledged their "commitment to the core values of the game - respect, exclusivity and integrity".

Jackson said he was “deeply disappointed” with the outcome, but recognised that his behaviour had “fallen far short of the values expected of me as an international player, a role model for the game of rugby and as a son and a brother”.

Olding also expressed regret, saying: “I am very sorry this day has come to pass.”

Craig Gilroy - who was not involved in the trial - sent an offensive message in a WhatsApp group chat he was in along with Olding, Jackson and others which was disclosed in court. He was suspended from play and sanctioned. He will be available to play again for Ulster at the end of the month.

Some fans have described the outcome as "spineless" and a "travesty". While those behind Friday night's protest at the Kingspan welcomed the departures.

The independent official Ulster Rugby Supporters’ club - which had previously suggested fans could boycott the club and withhold season ticket renewals over the decision before it was made - has emailed all its members to determine what its official response should be.

The email, which has been seen by the Belfast Telegraph, outlines five responses for fans to consider, from welcoming the decision to protesting and boycotting the club's game at the weekend.

"The URSC has noted the outcome of the review into the conduct of Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding and Craig Gilroy. It has also noted the responses of the players concerned to the sanctions imposed," the organisation said in the email.

"Previously URSC had said it respected the judicial outcome and the review process. Subsequently URSC asked that the review outcome be proportionate and in line with precedence.

"URSC will now examine the review outcome, and taking account of its members’ views, will provide its considered response in due course.

The responses fans are asked to consider are:

  • Pleased they are gone, they have brought disgrace to Ulster Rugby. See you on Saturday.
  • move on, we are a Supporters Club and we support the club not individual players. See you on Saturday.
  • disappointed but not surprised by the outcome. URSC to write to IRFU/Ulster expressing same.
  • appalled at the outcome - protest at the Glasgow game. See you outside on Saturday.
  • appalled at the outcome. Boycott Glasgow game. Won’t see you on Saturday.

Those wanting to respond have until 5pm on Monday to reply.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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