Joe Marler has quietly returned to Twitter after sensationally de-activating his account on the social media site just two weeks previously.
Both Marler and his family had been subject to a torrent of abuse online following his now infamous Alun Wyn Jones’ incident in the Six Nations.
Marler was found guilty of foul play, namely that he “grabbed, twisted or squeezed the genitals of Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones Welsh” in the first half of the match in last weekends Six Nations clash at Twickenham. An independent disciplinary committee heard submissions from Marler at a meeting in Dublin and found he had committed foul play that warranted a red card.
The committee reduced a potential 12-week sanction by three weeks to take account of mitigating factors but then added a week because of Marler’s most recent disciplinary record, for a total of 10 weeks.
While publicly, the majority took the incident relatively lightly, a vocal minority took the Harlequin to task for the grab, with some evenly claiming it was a sexual assault. The only public response from Marler to the debacle was on Twitter, where he posted on March 8th: ‘B******. Absolute b*******’.
Bollocks. Complete bollocks.
— Joe Marler (@JoeMarler) March 8, 2020
He appeared to delete his account a few days later, but he and his account returned on March 28th, where he RT’d a mindfulness course.
Mindfulness – both in sport and during the current pandemic & its associated social isolation – give it a listen…. 2:32:10. Thanks @BBCRadioLondon Jump on @Harlequins next Wednesday for mindfulness meditation with Harlequins mindfulness Coach – Luke Doherty @02msmith ?? pic.twitter.com/2A7bTWsYvI
— Mike Lancaster (@mikephys) March 28, 2020
The incident appears to have rattled the England prop, known for his off-beat sense of humour and outrageous interviews. On the weekend there were reports that the Quins loosehead was considering retiring from the game altogether on the back of the incident.
According to the Daily Mail, Marler’s lockdown with his family has given him time to think about this future in the game.
Realistically, professional rugby could be suspended for months to come. Marler last re-signed with Harlequins in 2018 until 2021, which means he has another season to serve at the West London club.
In 2018, Marler sensationally quit international rugby, then aged just 28, due to the strain it was putting on him and his young family. He came back in 2019 following a Rugby World Cup SOS from Eddie Jones.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now