There are a million harmless ways to wind-up an opponent, but calling someone “gypsy boy” is not one of them. The word “boy” carries an extra hint of condescension, as if Lee has risen above his station in being there at all. Again, there is no real need to crucify Marler as a human being. The only requirement was to punish him and hammer home the point that demeaning people in this kind of way is dangerous and therefore unacceptable.
We know Lee took offence. We know Wales took offence, because Rob Howley, the assistant coach, said there “was no place in the game” for that kind of language. Jones and England must understand that an apology alone will not expunge an offence that has implications out there on the streets. The sporting role model argument has always been shot with flaws but you cannot have an England international deploying that kind of terminology.
Myself I’d run with the idea that propping is one of those areas of life where sticks and stones would be the appropriate stance to take.