Swann says sorry for comment about rape

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England cricketer Graeme Swann has apologised for a “crass and thoughtless” rape reference he included in a social media message.

Swann’s comment on his brother and former Northamptonshire team-mate Alec’s Facebook page had been heavily criticised by the chief executive of the charity Rape Crisis, who urged him to apologise to all victims of the sex crime.

The off-spinner, part of the team soundly beaten that lost the Ashes in only 14 days of cricket, told his brother and mutual friends, he would rather have been back home in the Midlands at a pop concert than “being a***-raped in Perth” by Australia.

The page has a public profile, however, and his remark drew condemnation.

Swann acknowledged he had made an error of judgment, and apologised via Twitter.

“Sorry to anyone who was offended by my comments in the papers today,” he wrote. “(They were) crass and thoughtless of me in the extreme.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board declined to comment, apart from confirming informally the decision to issue an apology was his alone and not an instruction from the governing body.

Rape Crisis chief executive Yvonne Traynor had told reporters: “It is the duty of a people in the public eye to make sure 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.”