England's Graeme Swann apologised for a "crass and offensive" comment on Thursday after he compared the third Ashes Test loss to Australia to being "raped". The comment, made in a Facebook exchange with his brother and picked up by British newspapers, prompted outrage on social media and from rape charities.
"Sorry to anyone who was offended by my comments in the papers today. Crass and thoughtless of me in the extreme," the spin bowler said on his Twitter account. (Click here for full Ashes coverage)
He had posted the Facebook comment in response to his brother, Alec, who said he had enjoyed a night out seeing a band in Northampton. "Rather have been there than being arse raped in Perth!" Swann replied, referring to England's humiliating defeat that handed Australia an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the Ashes series. (Also read: Prior facing axe after Ashes failure)
His message sparked condemnation from Yvonne Traynor, the chief executive of Rape Crisis in Britain. "We are appalled that Graeme Swann equates a cricket match with the devastatingly serious crime of rape," she told British media. ('Pulverised' England must not make panic changes: press)
"It is the duty of 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."
Swann has been under pressure in the Ashes series, taking only seven wickets at 80.00 in three heavy defeats to Australia. He had a particularly bad Test in Perth, where he was hit for 22 in one over by Shane Watson.
His comments came a day after Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris came under fire for sending a profanity-laden tweet when he was denied entry to a Perth casino during the team's celebrations.