England spinner Graeme Swann has been forced to apologise after making what has been described as an "appalling" comment about rape.
Swann's comments came in a typically public Facebook exchange with his brother Alec after England slumped to a third successive humiliating defeat in the Ashes series in Australia.
The remarks caused immediate outrage and controversy as Swann reflected on England's latest crushing defeat by comparing it to 'arse rape'.
"Rather have been there than being arse raped in Perth!" Swann said in the Facebook post, responding to Alec's statement that he had been to see the band Shed Seven in concert.
He later took to Twitter to issue an apology.
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
After Swann's comments been posted on Facebook they sparked widespread condemnation from rape charities.
"We are appalled that Graeme Swann equates a cricket match with the devastatingly serious crime of rape," Yvonne Traynor, the chief executive of Rape Crisis, told the Daily Telegraph.
"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."
In 2010, British heavyweight boxer David Haye suggested he should not apologise for stating that his world heavyweight title fight with Audley Harrison would be as "one-sided as a gang rape".
The previous year, The BBC was forced to apologise after Match of the Day 2 pundit Alan Pardew generated a storm of complaint by comparing a tackle in a Chelsea and Manchester City match to "rape".
Swann's controversial comments come a day after Australia fast bowler Ryan Harris was forced to apologise for a expletive-laden drunken rant on Twitter after being refused entry to a party as he celebrated his side's Ashes success.
As for the England spinner, it has been a thoroughly miserable series.
Swann has taken only seven wickets in three defeats, and he had a particularly bad game in Perth, where he was hit for 22 in an over by Shane Watson.
His disastrous tour was made all the worse in the wake of England's convincing defeat to Australia in the third Test in Perth as legendary fast bowler Bob Willis called for him to be axed.
"Graeme Swann should be sacked. No doubt about that," Willis said on Sky Sports' 'The Verdict' programme.
"You can't keep playing Swann, his wickets are costing 90. All the right-handers have got the wood over him. You've got to give Monty (Panesar) a go."