Rugby’s Joe Marler Scores Ten Week Suspension For Grabbing Player’s Junk

England’s Joe Marler

English rugby player Joe Marler has been suspended from playing for 10 weeks for groping Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones during their match on March 7.

The incident occurred during a heated tussle during the match that involved several players. Marler appeared to be trying to playing with Jones as the moment began to cool down.

You can see the crotch grab in the video below:

At a press conference after the match, Jones was calm but called on the powers that be to weigh in on the episode.

Appearing before an independent disciplinary committee, Marler admitted he committed an act of foul play but argued the citing that he “grabbed, twisted or squeezed the genitals” of an opponent, according to The Independent.

In the end, though, the committee found him guilty of infringing Law 9.27 (acts against the spirit of good sportsmanship).

A statement from the Rugby Football Union read: “The disciplinary committee found that the act of foul play warranted a low-end entry point (12 weeks’ suspension) and reduced that by three weeks to take account of mitigating factors (including good character and remorse) but increased it by one week to take account of his most recent disciplinary record.

“Marler is therefore suspended for 10 weeks and, given his playing schedule, is free to resume playing on Monday, 8 June 2020. He was reminded of his right of appeal.”

It’s worth noting, however, England’s final game against Italy in Rome has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As I reported last week, the incident received widespread attention as the crotch grab seemed to divide people on whether it was “a bit of banter” or bad sportsmanship.

The coach for the Wales team, Wayne Pivac, told the press he felt the behavior sets a bad example for younger players.

“There’s no place for that in the game,” said Pivac. “We’re all role models for the young players and the next generation of the game, and there are rules in the game. You can’t go outside those rules. If you do, then you face punishment.”

But Marler’s teammate Danny Care told the Rugby Union Weekly podcast, “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.”

After viewing a video clip of the incident, Care felt the moment was “two lads messing around who were good mates.”

That said, Care admits “Out of the context of sport and as bit of banter it obviously isn’t funny. You put that in any other place of work and there’s going to be serious repercussions from it.”

Folks on Twitter were pretty divided on the subject:

Rugby’s Joe Marler Faces Punishment For Grabbing Player’s Junk

England’s Joe Marler grabs Alun Wyn Jones during tussle (screen capture)

A crotch-grabbing incident during England’s narrow 33-30 Six Nations win over Wales on Saturday could land England rugby player Joe Marler in some serious trouble.

The Independent reports that Marler has been cited for grabbing Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones’ junk during a heated tussle during the match that involved several players.

In the brief clip below, you can see Marler grab and hold Jones’ junk for several seconds before letting go and walking away with a smirk.

Video of the grab immediately went viral and seemed to polarize fans online. Some saw the moment as a light-hearted way for Marler to get in Jones’ head, while others saw it as pure and simple sexual misconduct.

At a press conference after the match, Jones was calm but called on the powers that be to weigh in on the episode.

On Sunday, Marler responded to the backlash with a short tweet that read, “Bollocks. Complete bollocks.”

Coming across this Instagram post by Marler last spring (in support of a mental health campaign) seems rather ironic considering the past weekend’s shenanigans.

A statement from Six Nations on Monday confirmed the citing referencing an alleged infringement of Law 9.27 which prohibits “anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship.” The rule includes “grabbing, twisting or squeezing the genitals.”

At a scheduled disciplinary hearing on March 12, Marler could face a suspension of between 12 weeks and four years for committing the offense.

Related: Naked Soccer Players Get ‘Ballsy’

Welsh rugby legend and Gareth Thomas found himself swept up in the incident for making light of the moment, according to Metro.

Thomas, who came out in 2009, said on-air during the ITV television network’s halftime review: “It would never have happened in my day and I’m really upset about that – because if it had I would have never retired!” The remark drew uneasy laughs from Thomas’s fellow analysts.

Several people took Thomas to task on Twitter, including ex-England international Andy Goode who tweeted: “Imagine if someone touched another man or woman up in the workplace and then someone joked about it on TV.”

Thomas apologized via Twitter saying he “tried to find humour in a situation – that doesn’t mean I condone it, it means I wanted it to not be an issue. So don’t change the narrative to justify how you feel. Be kind.”

(source: The Independent)

Gareth Thomas back on the field as coach at Gay Rugby Tournament

Retired rugby star Gareth Thomas at Berlin’s “Bash About”

Retired rugby star Gareth Thomas was back on the field this past weekend as a guest coach for the Bash About tournament in Berlin.

Thomas was one of the first high-profile athletes to reveal he was gay when he came out in 2009.

From OUT:

As guest coach, Gareth trained with some of the 150 players from 20 different gay teams as part of an initiative to promote Sportsmen against Stigma. The goal is to push back on stigmas associated with and exclusion of HIV positive athletes.

“It can be a lonely existence as a gay guy or woman and rugby is a way of integrating people into a team environment, ultimately giving them friends and a social life,” Thomas told AFP. “When I heard the concept, I just wanted to get involved.”

“It’s not just about what happens on the pitch, it’s about the socialising after and making life-long friendships,” he continued. “That’s the whole package of rugby.”

More at OUT