MIKE BROWN: My 12 Week Ban Was A Bitter Pill To Swallow After Red Card Ended 17 Years At Harlequins

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MIKE BROWN: My 12 week ban was a bitter pill to swallow after the red card ended my 17 years at Harlequins … I’ve been hurt by social media abuse, but good people have kept me from slipping into a dark hole

  • My red card for a stamp on Tommy Taylor was mentally difficult to deal with
  • There was no intention with the Wasp Man and I disagree with the 12-week ban
  • It suddenly ended my 17 years at Harlequins and it hurts
  • I was forced to delete my Twitter app after being abused on social media
  • But now I am looking forward to a new challenge before joining Newcastle

It’s been a tough few weeks after a red card suddenly ended my 17 years at Harlequins. It was mentally difficult to take.

I have had a hard time and I am still concerned that I will never play for the club that I have spent most of my life with again. Fortunately, I have good people around me to talk to, which prevents me from slipping further into a dark hole.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow because what happened wasn’t intentional and the disciplinary panel accepted that. I don’t think that was reflected in the high-end 12-week sanction. Tommy Taylor immediately accepted my apologies and there is absolutely no bad blood between us. I’m glad he was okay and could continue the game.

My 12 week ban was mentally difficult to deal with after ending my 17 years at Harlequins

The Disciplinary Panel acknowledged in their report that there was no intention, so I disagreed with their sanction, but agreed that I should be more careful.

I’ve always tried to play the game the right way: competitive, tough, physical and on the cutting edge. I think I have been a good ambassador for our sport, so having this on my record is not easy.

A lot of people have bumped into me on social media and they quickly forget it’s one mistake in 17 years. I deleted the Twitter app from my phone. Look at Marcus Rashford’s abuse over the week; it has become a platform for people to attack you and it needs more monitoring. What happened hurts enough without people abusing you on top of that.

The disciplinary panel agreed that there was no intention to put my mark on Tommy Taylor, but that was not reflected in the long-term sanction

The disciplinary panel agreed that there was no intention to put my mark on Tommy Taylor, but that was not reflected in the long-term sanction

Every time I’ve had a setback in my career I’ve channeled the disappointment onto the field. Whether it’s dropping for the World Cup after the bust-up with Ben Te’o, injuries, or being told from Harlequins that I was no longer needed, I’ve always used it as motivation.

This will be no different. My next challenge is to move to Newcastle and earn my place on the team. I look forward to working with the young guys there and helping them achieve their goals with Newcastle and internationally. That is my motivation.

It has given me the opportunity to spend some time with my family and focus on some non-rugby stuff. I’m starting a master’s degree in sports management in September, so I’ve read a lot.

I've been hurt by social media abuse, but luckily good people have supported me

I’ve been hurt by social media abuse, but luckily good people have supported me

I am interested in exploring other team environments and a few Premier League football teams, Norwich and Southampton, were kind enough to invite me to share ideas.

In terms of training, I will continue to help Harlequins practice as best I can and prepare them in the rugby sessions for the opponents they will face. The club has a few big weeks ahead.

In addition to the Quins sessions, I will be working hard with (sprint coach) Margot Wells and using this as a mini pre-season to get ahead and be in the best possible shape for my Newcastle challenge.

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