- Associated Press - Monday, January 15, 2018

PARIS (AP) - France center Mathieu Bastareaud has apologized after using an anti-gay slur during a Champions Cup match.

The tournament organizers have opened an investigation into Sunday’s incident and Bastareaud could face a lengthy ban after the Toulon captain appeared to direct the insulting slur at Italy forward Sebastian Negri during the team’s 36-0 win over Benetton.

In a statement issued Monday by his club, Bastareaud apologized, saying he “reacted badly” in responding to Negri’s provocation. Bastareaud added that he was “sincerely sorry for the people I might have hurt.”

Toulon defended Basteareaud and insisted he “is not homophobic by any means.”

Bastareaud, who has made 42 appearances for France, could miss the Six Nations if he is found guilty.

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