The ongoing rape trial of Ulster's Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding has cast a shadow over Ireland's preparations for their Six Nations game today against France.
In particular, the decision of Ireland captain Rory Best to attend Wednesday's court proceedings in Belfast - the day the plaintiff provided detailed testimony about the alleged rape that occurred at Jackson's home in June 2016 - has provoked much debate and consternation.
Best and Ireland coach Joe Schmidt have chosen not to comment about the matter, but there is continuing disquiet on social media over Best's choice to attend the court hearing ahead of Ireland's game today in Paris.
Over the last 36 hours, the #NotMyCaptain hashtag is being used by many who now believe Best's suitability for his role as Irish captain has been compromised by attending the trial.
— Trish Deseine (@TrishDeseine) February 3, 2018
Well said, #notmycaptain
— Lucy (@lucylob) February 3, 2018
— Rebecca Flynn (@flynnfluencer) February 3, 2018
— Sharon (@SharonLeavy1) February 3, 2018
He said in an interview he is “only answering Rugby questions and stick to Rugby” .... that’s what he should have done in the first place ... stuck to rugby #notmycaptain
— Trish (@wolfie_67) February 3, 2018
I honestly don't think I've missed an Ireland V France Rugby match since I was a small child- that's approaching 40 years. Today I'll not be tuning in out of protest. I'm so disgusted #notmycaptain @IrishRugby
— tararoonies (@tararoonies) February 3, 2018
Serious gap in judgement on the part of Rory Best and in turn Irish Rugby this week. Innocent until proven otherwise, yes. But in a position as captain of a national team, use your moral code to sit out attending a rape trial. #notmycaptain either
— anna ryan (@tellmestories) February 3, 2018
This is my 6th six nations as a mother and the first time I haven’t dressed my children in Ireland jerseys. If this is what Irish rugby culture is about, they will have no part in it #notmycaptain #FRAvIRE
— Cáit 2.0 (@CaitFU) February 3, 2018
Regardless of the outcome of this case, these men have shown they have no respect for women in the way they discussed sex in those messages. They have shown their true colours. And Rory supported that publicly. #NotMyCaptain
— Órla (@orlabaz) February 2, 2018
A sampling of the pressure Best has come under from Irish fans, the scrutiny is only likely to heighten in the coming weeks. People are also using the hashtag to appeal for calm as the justice system resolves this case.
I’m sure if your friend was in that situation you would want them to be viewed as innocent until proven guilty as is the law of the land. Best went to court in support of two currently innocent men. He’s done nothing wrong.
Let’s put an end to this #notmycaptain judgemental crap
— Craig Walker (@phatdawg73) February 3, 2018