The outgoing coach of Harlequins, one Conor O'Shea, has stoutly defended Joe Marler from the charge of racism and, in the process, alleged that Marler was heavily abused himself during the infamous exchange.
Marler sneeringly referred to Welsh prop Samson Lee as 'gypsy boy' and now lip-reading evidence suggests that he told Lee to 'get back to you caravan'.
As his starting point, O'Shea wanted to get it straight that Marler was not racist. Rather, the comments were made in the 'heat of the moment' during a match.
He countered that the Welsh had fired abuse at Marler.
O'Shea hinted that Marler had been called a 'posh English' four letter word during the flare-up, presumably one beginning with 'c', although who knows.
Posh, English and a four-letter word seems to be fine one way but not the other. I just think both wanted to draw a line under it. The process has just dragged. It’s unfair on him. Do we condone it? No, nobody does, he knew he had done wrong, he apologised but to let it drag the way it has for him is not particularly fair, especially when you know some of the stuff that was said to him. We will support him through it.
Painting Marler as another victim in this saga is a hard sell.
Even if it's true that Marler was called a 'posh English c__', it is surely the case that the term carries less historical weight than the things Marler is accused of saying. O'Shea may not be doing this but suggesting any sort of equivalence between calling someone 'posh' and sneering at a person's 'gypsy' background is not the most politically sophisticated of arguments.