The reason why Joe Marler only received a two-week ban for his kick to an opposing player’s head has been revealed
Marler had been subjected to the foulest of verbal abuse and references of a personal nature
The prop will be available for Harlequins European Challenge Cup Final against Montpellier next Friday
The written judgement in the Joe Marler disciplinary hearing for his head kick to a Grenoble player reveals the England and Harlequin’s prop had been subjected to the ‘foulest of personal abuse’ in the lead up to the incident.
The telling part of the written judgement reads: “Before watching the video clips, Mr Smith suggested it was important for the Committee to understand both the wider context and the on field context in which the Player’s offending had occurred.
“The Player (Joe Marler), questioned by Mr Smith, explained that the Match was his first game after serving a period of suspension imposed for his misconduct in a case that had received extremely wide and, from his point of view, adverse publicity.”
“In the heat of a moment he had entirely inappropriately addressed an opponent by derogatory reference to his ethnicity. He accepted unreservedly that he had been in the wrong and did not demur from the need for the game of rugby to address that inappropriateness but the pressure on the Player of the extended process that had been applied by the different authorities in the game, the extensive press and television coverage and the personal vilification he had been subjected to in social media had at times been difficult to bear.
“All of this was said not with self-pity or self-justification but with a mature acceptance that the game of rugby deserved, required, to be protected from the critical attention the Player’s reprehensible, heat of the moment, remark had generated.”
The consequence of all of this in the case now being considered was that it gave the opposition in the Match and particularly the opposition front row more than ample ammunition to use against the Player in an attempt to “wind him up” and that is what they had done.
The Player explained that it was common in the game for teams to use any means available to gain marginal advantage over their opponents and that included verbal as well as physical means. From the start of the Match and consequent upon his recent misconduct case, he had been subjected to the foulest of verbal abuse and references of a personal nature.