Joe Marler has made his first public comment on the Samson Lee 'gypsy boy' jibes.
Ahead of tomorrow's World Rugby hearing on the incident, he apologised to Lee and anyone who was offended.
He acknowledged that 'heat of the moment' was not an adequate defence but insisted he is not a racist. He said he will accept whatever punishment is handed down by World Rugby tomorrow.
I'm not a racist. What I said to Samson was out of order and wrong and I am sorry it was said, we shook hands at the end of the game and looked to move on. Whatever happens to me tomorrow I will accept.
I'm sorry to anyone who was offended, saying it was in the 'heat of the moment' isn't an excuse, but one comment, one mistake, does not make me a racist. My wife, kids, family and friends (yes, I do have some friends) know this.
Thanks to the people who have supported me and have understood that I made a mistake and sorry again to the people I offended.
Marler's outgoing club coach Conor O'Shea last week launched a defence of his player, implying that Marler had been called a 'posh English' so and so. He denied the player was racist.
Welsh journalist Paul Williams, no doubt with reference to his own experience, did allude to the fact that several journalists have not seen the apology on Marler's twitter.
Marler's liberal use of the block button on twitter means plenty of journalists have missed the apology.
It has got out there regardless.
The problem with Joe Marler 'blocking' so many people in the rugby media, is that few are able to see/ disseminate his apology tweet.
— Paul Williams (@thepaulwilliams) April 4, 2016
— Joe Marler (@JoeMarler) April 4, 2016