Joe Marler has reiterated an apology to Jake Heenan, his Harlequins teammates and the club after he was suspended for comments he made towards the Bristol striker.
Quins and England mainstay Marler have been charged by the Rugby Football Union with conduct detrimental to the game. He made an offensive comment about Heenan’s ailing mother during a Gallagher Premier League match last month.
Marler received a two-week ban, with another four suspended, in his latest brush with rugby authorities.
In 2016, he received a two-week ban and a £20,000 fine for calling Wales prop Samson Lee a “gypsy boy”, and two years ago he received a 10-week ban for grabbing the genitals of Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones during a Six Nations. play.
An independent disciplinary panel noted Marler’s checkered record, but also noted that he had apologized to Heenan.
“I’m so sorry to Jake Heenan and his family, the guy I insulted or tried to insult, and also my teammates and the club, because they really need to be at a point now where they’re like ‘here. we go again,’” Marler said, on his personal podcast The Joe Marler Show.
“At what point do you say, ‘Yeah, you can say sorry, mate, but stop? I guess this is the point, right?
“I’ve been going back and forth about the whole situation, from, ‘Oh, it happens all the time; you should listen to some of the stuff.’ All this lot. ‘What’s the big deal, and would there be a hoo-ha if his mother wasn’t in the hospital?’ Probably not.
“But really, we always have a choice, don’t we? We have the choice to use this for good, regardless of what the RFU has done in terms of banning or setting an example.
“It’s about what can I do to make this useful and good to move forward.
“And I guess it’s a realization that I don’t have a lot of time left to be able to play the game. So I want to use the time I stay at the club to hug him and play the game.”
Marler said that he had “no idea” that Heenan’s mother was in the hospital and revealed that his (Marler’s) wife criticized him throughout the episode.
“He turned to me afterwards and said, ‘You’re an idiot, aren’t you? You’re an idiot,” Marler added.
“I said, ‘what do you mean? I thought you were meant to defend me.’
“And she said, ‘Why am I defending you? That’s not even a fun attempt. Why don’t you stop doing it? Or, if you feel the need to, just leave your family members out.
“‘You never know what’s going on in people’s lives and just because it doesn’t affect you in the field doesn’t mean it won’t affect other people.'”