'Even my wife said I was a moron', says Marler following latest ban

‘Even my wife said I was a moron’: Harlequins and England rugby star Joe Marler says he’s ‘so sorry’ for calling an opponent’s mother a ‘f***ing w****’ – and he insists he didn’t know she was in hospital with cancer

  • Joe Marler started a fracas in Harlequins’ Premiership match against Bristol
  • It emerged that the prop, 32, insulted the mother of Bears forward Jake Heenan 
  • Marler disgracefully called Heenan’s hospital-bound mother a ‘f***ing w****’ 
  • He has received an initial ban of just two weeks for his unsportsmanlike actions 

Joe Marler admitted that even his wife had labelled him a moron after the England prop’s latest brush with controversy.

Marler sparked a brawl in action for Harlequins on December 27 when he insulted Bristol forward Jake Heenan’s mother, who is in hospital, by calling her a ‘f***ing whore’.

Marler, who has a long history of disciplinary issues, was banned for two weeks with another four suspended by an RFU disciplinary panel.

Joe Marler called an opponent’s mother a ‘f***ing w****’, shocking new footage has revealed

Harlequins prop Marler’s comments to Bristol Bears forward Jake Heenan sparked a brawl between the two sets of players and has resulted in him receiving an initial two-week ban

Experienced England international Joe Marler has had a lucky escape after only receiving an initial two-week ban for insulting Heenan’s mother, who is in hospital with cancer

June 2009: Prior to becoming a senior professional, Marler was sent off in action for England’s Under-20 side in a meeting with Japan.

April and September 2011: Receives bans of two weeks and three weeks respectively for fighting and hitting an opponent on Premiership duty for Harlequins.

March 2016: Four years into his Test career with England, Marler causes outrage by calling Wales opponent Samson Lee ‘gypsy boy’ in a Six Nations match. He is banned for two weeks and fined £20,000.

April 2016: In his first match back after the Lee ban, Marler kicks Grenoble’s Arnaud Héguy in the head in a European Challenge Cup semi-final. Is banned for another two weeks.

June 2016: Refers to former Australia coach Bob Dwyer as a ‘w*****’ on Twitter. Receives a formal warning from his England rugby bosses.

September and October 2017: Squirts water at his England team-mate James Haskell in a clash between Harlequins and Wasps. Not banned on that occasion but is a month later for striking Will Rowlands.

January 2018: Another ban, this time for six weeks.

March 2020: Mammoth 10-week ban for grabbing the testicles of Alun Wyn Jones in England’s Six Nations meeting with Wales at Twickenham.

December 2022: Found guilty of conduct prejudicial to rugby after abusing Bristol’s Jake Heenan and making fun of his hospital-bound mum. Banned for an initial two weeks. 

Speaking on his podcast The Joe Marler Show, the 32-year-old forward admitted that insulting opposition players as he did is commonplace in rugby but that he had no idea Heenan’s mother was in hospital.

Marler said: ‘I’m really sorry to Jake and his family and also to my team-mates and the club because they must really now be at a point where they’re thinking, “Here we go again”.

‘At what point do you go, “Yeah, you can say sorry, mate, but just stop doing it?” I guess this is the point. I’m usually better than just calling someone’s mum a whore.

‘Stuff like this is said. This is the norm. That may not be an excuse, but it is kind of a reason that you think, “Well, it’s normalised”.’

Marler has previously received bans for calling Wales prop Samson Lee a ‘gypsy’ and also for grabbing the testicles of another Wales player, Alun Wyn Jones, while on Six Nations duty with England.

Now even Marler’s wife Daisy has refused to defend him. Marler said: ‘She turned round to me and she said, “You’re an idiot, aren’t you? You’re just a moron”. 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 funny attempt. Why don’t you just stop doing it? Or, if you feel the need to do it, just don’t bring family members into it. You never know what’s going on in people’s lives and it doesn’t mean it’s not going to affect other people”. I said, “You’re absolutely spot on”.’

Marler was fortunate to escape with just a fortnight’s suspension for the Heenan incident. It meant he missed Harlequins’ hammering by Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens and won’t be able to face Sale on Sunday. But he will still be available for England’s Six Nations campaign, if selected by the new head coach Steve Borthwick.

‘We always have a choice,’ reflected Marler. The prop then described his wind-up antics as ‘fake tough-guy’ stuff and added: ‘It’s about what I can do to make this good for me moving forward.

‘I have not got long left being able to play the game. I want to use whatever time I have left to actually embrace it.’

Marler’s words sparked a fracas between Quins and Bears in their clash on December 27

Marler described his comments to Heenan as ‘p*** poor’ – but his latest brush with controversy has only seen him punished with a fortnight’s ban, meaning his Six Nations hopes are still alive

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