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.
You can see the grab in the brief clip below:
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
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.
🏉 Alun Wyn Jones on the Marler incident pic.twitter.com/YleT7Cw1VL
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) March 7, 2020
On Sunday, Marler responded to the backlash with a short tweet that read, “Bollocks. Complete bollocks.”
Bollocks. Complete bollocks.
— Joe Marler (@JoeMarler) March 8, 2020
This Instagram post by Marler (intended to support a mental health campaign last year) seems kind of ironic following the incident.
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.
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!”
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.”
Imagine if someone touched another man or woman up in the workplace and then someone joked about it on TV. People have admiration for Gareth Thomas with what he’s been through and opened up about but I wonder if something similar was done in a homophobic way he’d joke about it?
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) March 7, 2020
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.”
To the VERY small minority of people who were offended by my comment yesterday I apologise. I 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❤️
— Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas14) March 8, 2020