Under-fire England allrounder Ben Stokes has spoken for the first time since his arrest, to apologise for impersonating the disabled son of a British glamour model.
Stokes later was dumped by his equipment sponsor, which could mean he would be without a bat sponsor should he be cleared to feature in the Magellan Ashes series.
Stokes took to social media to apologise to Katie Price, a model and reality TV star famous in Britain, and her disabled son Harvey after a video emerged of him impersonating the pair.
The video came to light shortly after Stokes was placed under investigation by police after being arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub last month.
British tabloid The Express published footage last month showing Stokes doing an impression of first Katie and then Harvey, whose father is former Sydney FC star Dwight Yorke.
In a statement released on Twitter, Stokes said: "Earlier this year I was shown a clip of Harvey being asked on "Loose Women" how he responds to internet trolls.
"I loved Harvey's directness with his response – he said what most of us think but perhaps aren't brave enough to say, let alone on live TV.
"I foolishly attempted to copy the clip after I saw it a few times. I should never have done this and I am so sorry.
"It was absolutely not my intention to offend Harvey, Katie or anybody else.
"I have written to both Harvey and Katie to say sorry and prior to this offered to meet in person at the end of last month with a view to also getting behind their petition about online bullying. I do hope I can put this right."
Please see below my apology to Katie and Harvey pic.twitter.com/hFx5DnBb8H— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) October 11, 2017
Stokes' equipment sponsor, New Balance, later terminated its contract with the allrounder.
"New Balance does not condone behaviour by our global athletes that does not match our brand culture and values, and therefore we have ended our relationship with Ben Stokes, effective October 11, 2017," the company said in a statement.
It was announced last week that Stokes would not travel to Australia with the rest of the England squad for this winter's Ashes series as he waits to learn whether he will face criminal charges over the Bristol incident.
The 26-year-old, England's vice-captain, has not been ruled out of the five-Test series which starts on November 23, but the England and Wales Cricket Board will not consider him for selection until further notice as it awaits developments in the ongoing investigation by Avon & Somerset Police.
Stokes, who is also subject to internal disciplinary action, has had his central contract renewed by the ECB since his arrest.
"Ben Stokes will not travel at this stage, though no final decision has been taken on his involvement in Australia," the ECB said in a statement last week.
England Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss said the decision to remove Stokes from the touring party - for now - was made to provide clarity around the allrounder's short-term future.
"With the Ashes just around the corner, it’s important to give the players, the coaching staff and supporters some clarity around a complex situation," Strauss said in a statement.
"This decision will help us in the weeks ahead and give every player and the whole England set-up the best chance to focus on the challenge ahead in Australia.
“We have spoken to Ben and assured him that our decision in no way prejudges the outcome of the ongoing Police investigation or Cricket Discipline Commission process, as can be seen by the award of Central Contracts."
Middlesex fast bowler Steven Finn was added to the England squad who will depart London on October 28.
England Test squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Steven Finn, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.
2017-18 International Fixtures:
Magellan Ashes Series
First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets
ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets
Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets
T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21