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Newspaper ad calls for Ulster rugby players' return

Newspaper ad calls for Ulster rugby players' return

Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson were cleared of rape charges after a nine-week trial in Belfast
A full-page newspaper advert has called on Ulster and Irish rugby to reinstate "innocent men" to playing duties.The advert in Wednesday's Belfast Telegraph was signed by "real fans standing up for the Ulster men".No names are mentioned but Ulster players Stuart Olding, Paddy Jackson and Craig Gilroy are currently relieved of their duties. Rugby officials are investigating their conduct following a recent rape trial involving Mr Olding and Mr Jackson.
Advert calls for players to be dropped
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Both men were found not guilty of the charges they faced.
They had been accused of raping the same woman in June 2016 and their acquittal came after a nine-week trial.An internal review of the player's conduct by the IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union) could not begin until the rape trial was concluded: Both players are suspended until that review is completed. The men's teammate Craig Gilroy has also been made unavailable for selection after an offensive message he sent to Mr Olding was referenced in the trial.
'Social media backlash'
The latest advert claims "the extent of the social media backlash aimed at incriminating men unanimously acquitted of any crime" was "reprehensible"."We are fed up with this cyber-persecution," it states, alluding to the fallout from the trial with some people on social media demanding that neither Mr Olding nor Mr Jackson be allowed to play for Ireland or Ulster again. The advert calls for the players to be "rightly allowed to resume their roles for both club and country". "The IRFU should take note of the silent majority and not bow to the court of social media," it says."We do not expect an answer to this letter, but we do expect them to play."
Belfast
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