An independent commissioner handed English rugby player Joe Marler a 10-week suspension for grabbing an opposing player’s genitals during Saturday’s Six Nations win over Wales.
The decision was made at a disciplinary hearing in Dublin reports the BBC.
The shortest ban under World Rugby rules for “grabbing, twisting or squeezing the genitals” is 12 weeks, though the commission reduced that by three weeks to take account of mitigating factors, including good character and remorse.
However, they also increased the ban by one week after taking into account Marler’s recent disciplinary record.
England prop Joe Marler caught on camera grabbing Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones' GENITALS during on-field melee in Six Nations clash at Twickenham..
Hang on thats just not cricket! pic.twitter.com/dNfvQa2GxF
— D.N.S. (@DubaiNameShame) March 8, 2020
Marler’s teammate Danny Care told the Rugby Union Weekly podcast he doesn’t believe there was any malicious intent in the grab.
“If you know Joe and you’ve played with him or spent a lot of time with him, you know he hasn’t done it in a malicious way,” said Care. “You know he hasn’t gone out there to annoy anyone or anger anyone or disrespect anyone. He’s done it in Joe’s way of being Joe.”
“When I saw it, I just thought it was two lads messing around who were good mates but I can completely understand the massively split reaction,” he added. “Out of the context of sport and as a bit of banter, it obviously isn’t funny. You put that in any other place of work and there’s going to be some serious repercussions from it.”
“I think anyone involved in rugby, things like that are seen as a joke,” Care concluded. “It’s seen as a bit of banter. I don’t see an awful lot wrong with it.”