Former Ireland international calls on Ulster to offer better explanation for Jackson and Olding dismissals
Former Ireland international and Ulster fly-half Paddy Wallace has called on Ulster Rugby to offer a better explanation for revoking the contracts of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding following their acquittal of rape charges last month.
Jackson and Olding were both found not guilty by a Belfast court of raping the same woman at a party in Jackson's home in 2016 after a nine-week trial in the Northern Irish capital.
However, following an internal review conducted by Ulster and the IRFU after the conclusion of the case, both parties decided to revoke the players contracts citing their commitment to the core values of the game as a contributing factor in their decision.
Wallace, who spent his entire 13-year playing career with Ulster, called on someone from within the organisation to come out and provide more information on their decision making process.
"The decision itself was probably the decision that had to be made given the public pressure that was mounting and also the sponsorship issue," Wallace told RTE Radio.
"There is a sense from the fans that they have been left in the dark a bit.
"Quite a vague statement has come out and, just gauging the temperature of the Supporters Clubs, they feel they need a bit more information as to how they came to that decision.
"I have my own views on that but someone in Ulster Rugby has to come out and make that very clear."
Wallace added that he feels that the 'vast majority' of Ulster supporters feel disappointed by the club's decision and that the fans feel as if the players contracts were revoked based on the Whatsapp messages they had sent to each other after Jackson's party.
"The vast majority in official Supporters Clubs are very disappointed," added the 38-year-old.
"I think that's because they are fans of the game. They probably feel that these guys have been acquitted and they are being judged on their text messages which were obviously completely out of order and that is the core issue here.
"That is why they are moving on, they didn't meet the code of conduct Irish and Ulster players are held to.
"From that point of view, there was no decision to be made. I think the supporters, because they want to see Ulster being successful on the pitch, are sad to see the two players moving on."
The Ulster Rugby Supporters Club released a statement on their website after the decision and explained to their members that they would consider the views of their members before issuing an official response.
"Previously URSC (Ulster Rugby Supporters Club) 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.
"We would encourage as many members as possible to respond [to the questionnaire], to help the committee accurately reflect the feelings of URSC members and act accordingly."
A petition to have both players reinstated by Ulster Rugby gained more than 18,000 signatures on change.org.