The 25-year-old will team up with Declan Kidney’s newly promoted side from French outfit Perpignan a year after having his contract with Ulster and the Irish Rugby Football Union terminated. This is after he was acquitted alongside fellow Ulster player Stuart Olding of rape in early 2018.
Despite being cleared, a series of WhatsApp messages by the players have since caused outrage, making Jackson a very unpopular figure.
Consequently, many people have vehemently disagreed with the Exiles signing Jackson, with some supporting boycotting the club. One fan said how they were “beyond disappointed and disgusted” by this on Twitter, while another said that people’s memories last “a lot longer than a season in France”.
This was a deal that had been anticipated for a while, and many predicted that it would prove as controversial as it has. It seems impossible to see how Irish will be able to appease these fans that are horrified by this signing. This is what they have said:
I was looking forward to bringing my 2 y.o. daughter to a few games in the future. I will never even watch a game on tv again. What in God’s name is going on you thought this is an appropriate signing?
— Gary O'Reilly (@gary_o_reilly) May 7, 2019
this is a disgrace. as an Irish woman in London and supporter, I am beyond disappointed and disgusted by this appointment.
as a club that prides itself on community and values…. what on earth are you thinking?
you have my support no longer.
— The Morrigan (@sarkorama) May 7, 2019
— John Whelan (@seanbanofaolain) May 7, 2019
— Katherine Nesbitt (@_kittybitty) May 7, 2019
Disgusted to hear Paddy Jackson has been signed by @London Irish rugby. Declan Kidney should be ashamed
— mariem (@areyousreious) May 7, 2019
Peoples have long memories. A lot longer than a season in France. Lack of class @LiRFC
— Paul Rouse (@singleputter) May 7, 2019
That may not be well received…
— Jay Gurden (@txljay) May 7, 2019
Gives me another reason to dislike them, sadly.
— Charlie Thomas (@CThomas663) May 7, 2019
While there is a huge number of those showing heavy censure at this news, there are many that are equally looking forward to the arrival of Jackson. There is no denying that the former Ireland standoff is a high quality player, and many seem to look beyond his past and will judge him for what he produces on the pitch.
Some have also mentioned how Jackson was not found guilty, however, that does not suffice for many, who do not think that he should be awarded a contract.
Nonetheless, some see this as a great coup for London Irish:
Wow a brilliant pice of work! Fantastic signing and welcome Paddy to the Green Army ??
— Bryan Monument (@BryanMonument) May 7, 2019
Fantastic signing, welcome to the club!
— Nigel Charlton (@Norg2072) May 7, 2019
Great to have such a great talent in his prime ready to reinvent himself at Irish – hopefully as time progresses he will become one of the many LI players who represents Ireland again.
— Séan Douglas (@eretail) May 7, 2019
I know alot of people may be dubious. But I honestly think he'll be a great player for the club! Welcome Paddy! ?
— Jamie (@Jamcof1986) May 7, 2019
However, this will surely be the most controversial signing this year, and one that will surely rage on throughout Jackson’s time at the club.
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