Crowdfunded ad calls for Jackson and Olding to be banned from rugby

Today, The Irish Times has reported that an advertisement has appeared in a local newspaper, calling for Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding to be banned from Ulster and Irish Rugby.

A group of 139 people, who have called themselves “concerned fans”, got money together in a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the advertisement in today's copy of the Belfast Telegraph.

The open letter reads: 

“To the leadership of the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby…The content of social media exchanges involving Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding was reprehensible.

“Such behaviour falls far beneath the standard that your organisations represent and as such we demand that neither of these men represents Ulster or Ireland now or at any point in the future.

“We expect an answer to this letter.”

It is signed off: “Yours, concerned fans.”

Last week in Belfast, Mr Olding and Mr Jackson were found not guilty of raping the same woman back in 2016. Mr Jackson was also found not guilty of a charge of sexual assault.

Two other men who were also involved in the case were acquitted. 

Following the result of the trial, both Ulster Rugby and the IRFU said that a review process was under way to assess the futures of the two players.

A number of public demonstrations were held in cities across Ireland following the trial verdict, calling for a change in media reporting and sex education in schools.

As a result of these protests, the idea for the advertisement was born. 

According to the report by The Irish Times, 'the crowdfunding campaign to publish the ad exceeded its €2,000 target within 36 hours.'

One of the organisers of the crowdfunded ad told the Belfast Telegraph: “A friend and I felt, like many people around the country do, that the WhatsApp exchanges as revealed in court goes against any moral standard of what can be considered acceptable behaviour.

“These players have a national and international platform and the IRFU and Ulster Rugby have a role to play in enforcing moral standards.”