France: James Haskell expected longer Mathieu Bastareaud ban for homophobic remark

Wasps' James Haskell says he expected Mathieu Bastareaud to be banned for longer than three weeks for an on-pitch homophobic remark - but admits he has done similar things in the past.

France and Toulon centre Bastareaud admitted making the comment to Benetton flanker Sebastian Negri during Sunday's European Champions Cup tie.

"That language has no place in any walk of life," said Haskell. "I'm sure I've made mistakes like that, so I don't want to hammer someone."

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, the 32-year-old added: "I think a lot of homophobic language has become part of common parlance and I am as guilty of that as anyone else."

The panel ruling on Bastareaud's suspension decided his was a 'low-end' offence and halved the minimum six-week suspension on account of his guilty plea. He will miss his country's Six Nations opener against Ireland.

Haskell, who has spoken about homophobia in sport to Gay Times and Attitude in the past, says on-pitch insults are more to do with ignorance than prejudice.

"I think people say it without understanding the connotations and that they are offending people," he added. "It has been acceptable for so long. Now, rightly, people have put their hands up.

World Rugby has stepped in in cases of verbal abuse in the past, banning England prop Joe Marler for two weeks and fining him £20,000 after Six Nations organisers took no action over his "Gypsy boy" comment to Wales counterpart Samson Lee in the teams' meeting in March 2016. Read more via BBC