England off-spinner Graeme Swann moved to apologise after a Facebook conversation with his brother, which was visible to all users, compared the manner of losing the Ashes to "arse rape."
Writing on Twitter, Swann described the exchange as "crass and thoughtless."
Sorry to anyone who was offended by my comments in the papers today. Crass and thoughtless of me in the extreme.— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) December 19, 2013
The comments have been deleted, but the Guardian reports the context:
He posted the comment in response to his brother Alec posting that he had enjoyed a night out seeing the band Shed Seven at Northampton's Roadmender venue. 'Rather have been there than being arse raped in Perth!' Swann replied.
Though he may have thought the exchange was private, users could see it, and it quickly spread and drew criticism from rape support groups:
Yvonne Traynor, the chief executive of Rape Crisis, told the Daily Telegraph:
We are appalled that Graeme Swann equates a cricket match with the devastatingly serious crime of rape. It is the duty of a people in the public eye to make sure that their own distorted views are kept to themselves and not shared with the general public. These comments lack compassion and intelligence and he should apologise to anyone who has suffered from this heinous crime.
England have lost the Ashes for the first time since the 2006-07 series, and they have lost it wretchedly, suffering heavy defeats in each of the first three matches.
Swann's own place is under scrutiny as England consider changes ahead of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
The off-spinner has an outstanding record over his career, picking up 255 wickets in 60 Tests to date. However, with his form dipping alarmingly Down Under and closing in on his 35th birthday, he may be a man to make way.