England Rugby Star Joe Marler Faces Four-Year Ban For Grabbing Alun Wyn Jones' Genitals
England rugby star Joe Marler could be cited and face a length ban of up to four years, after he was caught on camera grabbing the genitalia of Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones during this weekend's Six Nations game.
Video footage emerged of the English player engaging in an off the ball incident, as he extends his arm out towards the crotch of Jones, right in front of the cameras. He can be seen grabbing what appears to be his penis, twist it, and hold onto it for several seconds - much to Jones' dismay.
Marler then innocuously turns to walk off, as he smirks to himself, leaving Jones bemused as he looks towards both the camera and the officials who at the time missed the entire incident.
Pending a citation, Marler could also face a ban from anywhere between 12 weeks and four years for committing the offence.
The grope overshadowed England's win and the other unsavoury moment in the game when centre Manu Tuilagi's dangerous tackle saw him receive a red card and also face a possible ban.
Former Wales international Gareth Thomas was heavily criticised for his halftime comments on the incident, when appearing on the ITV Sport panel. "It would never have happened in my day and I'm really upset about that - because if it had I would have never retired!" he exclaimed, as the remainder of the studio awkwardly laughed as the analysis cut away.
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Thomas, 45, later responded to his comments and addressed the people he feels he may have offended by saying: "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."
Jones also addressed the moment during the post-match interview, as a member of the press asked him to comment on what happened, but didn't want to directly call it what it was. After prompting said reporter to be more specific in his questioning - accompanied by gaggle of giggling journalists - it was clear from the expression on his face that Jones was not larking about or saw a funny side to what happened.
"Yeah. It's interesting. What would you do?" Jones asked with a stern face. "I've got 138 Tests for my country. If I react, I get a red card. It's tough, isn't it? Hopefully World Rugby have a look at it. Joe's a good bloke, lots of things happen on a rugby field. It's difficult as a captain these days because you can't speak to a ref about anything, it feels.
People think it's funny but the values our game has been built around aren't in great shape at the minute! pic.twitter.com/eBx5WxAwm1
- Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) March 7, 2020
"I look at the touch judge, obviously he didn't see what happened and that's fine. There's a lot of footage that has been shown, it seems like a lot of supporters saw what happened. It's very frustrating that we talk a lot about TMOs and footage reviews, yet there doesn't seem to be a lot of it happening."
As former Leicester and England fly-half Andy Goode tweeted out, the player should face a significant ban as per the rules of the game.
Words by Mike Williams
Featured Image Credit: PA