Sale Sharks centre Mark Jennings has taken to social media to explain his actions in light of recent convictions against him. Jennings was arrested at his home on February 2nd after police responded to a domestic incident. Acting heavily under the influence of alcohol Jennings resisted arrest and struck the policeman in the head with his chest. He also made a foul mouthed against both the male and female police officers present. In Mancheter magistrates court Jennings admitted the charges of assaulting an emergency worker and using threatening behaviour. He potentially faced up to one year in prison but managed to escape with a 12 month community and ordered to complete 80 hours unpaid work. He also had to pay £300 compensation to the policeman and £50 to the policewoman for his actions.
Three days after the incident Sale Sharks announced Jennings would be taking a sabbatical from professional rugby for the foreseeable future, putting it down to persistent injuries.
Jennings appeared to have a huge career ahead of him when he signed a professional contract with Sale aged only 16. He also appeared for England up to under 20 level. However his career has been blighted by unfortunate injuries, first going under the knife at the age of 19 and missing substantial parts of every season since.
Following his conviction Jennings has taken to social media to explain his actions on the day of his arrest. In it he explains how he has always had issues with being adopted and has often turned to alcohol to numb the pain of the sense of not belonging. He also says that due to the injuries he has experienced he has developed an addiction to pain killers in order to help with the pain of that. This set Jennings on a path that was going to require help and after he overdosed in November 2018 he began to see a psychiatrist which was put in place for him by the Rugby Players Association. However, the breaking point for Jennings came on the morning of the incident for which he was arrested. Having sought to find out who his real father was he spoke to his maternal mother. She informed him that having ran away from her foster home in Namibia she was given shelter by two men. One of those men forced himself on the young girl and that was Jennings father. This knowledge triggered him to drink all day and he claims to have no recollection of his actions when the police arrived at the scene.
Jennings has received plenty of bad publicity from the event but we should bear in mind that he had ongoing issues and found out news on the day of it which would be a massive crush to anyone. He has subsequently apologised to the police and described his behaviour as unforgivable. He has also thanked the RPA and Sale Sharks for all they have done for him as he continues his recovery. The hope is now for Jennings to recuperate fully and get rid of those demons haunting him so he can live a happy life and eventually return to the rugby field.
Written by Stefan Hamilton