Penis-bite player fights ban
Anthony Watts (Getty Images)
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Sydney - Bad boy Australian rugby league player Anthony Watts on Wednesday denied he bit an opponent on the penis and vowed to fight an eight-match ban.VIDEO: Watch this HILARIOUS animated version of "events"
The 27-year-old was suspended last week by the Gold Coast Rugby League over claims he bit an opposition player in an incident that attracted global attention and even inspired a Taiwanese animation.
Watts, who was dumped by National Rugby League outfit Sydney Roosters for disciplinary reasons in 2011 and was sacked last year by English Super League side Widnes Vikings, reportedly over a brawl, denied any wrongdoing.
"I was wearing a mouthguard and there's no way I bit him on the dick," Watts told Sydney's Daily Telegraph in his first comments on the allegations.
"The claim is laughable, but I've still had to live with it. I know I didn't do it and the people close to me know I didn't do it, either."
He said it would overshadow his career and vowed to appeal the ban.
"It's something I'm probably going to be known for, even though they've got no evidence to back any of it up," he said, claiming it was part of a campaign to eliminate him from rugby league.
"There's been numerous times in other games that players have made false claims against me," said Watts, who has reportedly been linked in the past to a Gold Coast motorcycle gang known as The Finks.
"I find that I get targeted all the time. If something happens to me, there's no penalty. If I do the same thing, there's a penalty."
After the incident in the minor league game, the alleged victim pulled down his shorts to reveal a mark on his penis to match officials, but then declined to make a formal complaint, the Telegraph said.
Nevertheless, the Gold Coast Rugby League decided to charge Watts with contrary conduct and he was handed an eight-match ban last Tuesday.
A photograph of the alleged victim's penis was produced at the closed hearing. It showed a mark on the skin, but officials could not conclude the graze was the result of a bite, the report said.
Other Australian football players have in the past been punished for unsavoury on-field incidents.
Peter Filandia, a former top-flight Australian Rules player, was banned for 10 games for biting an opponent's testicles during a minor league match in 2002.
Former NRL player John Hopoate, who represented Australia in rugby league, was banned in 2001 and sacked by his club for inserting his finger into an opposing player's anus on more than one occasion.
Last month, England international Sam Burgess was banned for two weeks for a "squirrel tackle" in which he grabbed the testicles of opponent Will Chambers during an NRL match.