(CNN) -- Not for the first time Joey Barton is in trouble.
The one-time England player's abusive Twitter insults towards Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Silva -- likening the Brazilian to a transsexual and calling him overweight --- has resulted in the French league leaders "reserving the right to take any action" against Barton.
Marseille and Barton have subsequently apologized for his "inappropriate comments" while the Englishman has also been reportedly summoned to appear before the French Football Federation's ethics committee on April 15.
On a year-long loan at Marseille from English team Queens Park Rangers, Barton had reacted angrily to comments made by Silva in the build up to PSG's European Champions League quarterfinal first leg match with Barcelona on Tuesday.
Former Manchester City academy graduate Barton has been forthright in his recent criticism of what he calls "overrated" Brazilian players and has frequently courted controversy during his eventful career.
However, more recently the 30-year-old Marseille midfielder has gained a reputation for quoting songwriters and philosophers to his two million-strong following on Twitter, but there is also a darker side to his character.
Barton served 74 days in prison for assault in 2008, while also being issued a four-month suspended sentence for attacking Manchester City teammate Ousmane Dabo.
In July 2011, during his time as a Newcastle United player, Barton used Twitter to criticize the club's board.
"There is a Marseille player," Silva, captain of PSG and the Brazilian national team, told French newspaper L'Equipe when asked about Barton on Monday.
"I cannot remember his name, an Englishman, who has said bad things about Neymar and Brazilian football, and also about [David] Beckham and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic.
"Because no one is talking about him, it seems it is fun for him to criticize great players for people to know he exists."
Values of respect
Silva's comments immediately drew the ire of Barton, who referred to the Braziian as "FatBoy" in one tweet prior to Tuesday's 2-2 draw between PSG and Barca.
Silva's impressive performance in Tuesday's match at the Parc des Princes, during which PSG scored an injury-time equalizer through Blaise Matuidi, drew something approaching praise from Barton, before he then quickly returned to insulting the Brazilian.
Those tweets provoked PSG into issuing a statement in which the club rushed to Silva's defense.
"In the last few hours, on social networks, unacceptable remarks have been made by Olympique Marseille player Joey Barton against Paris St-Germain player Thiago Silva," read the statement from the Qatari-owned club.
"These attacks are serious and go beyond mere verbal jousting. The directors of the club, the players and the coaching staff are supportive of Thiago Silva and cannot accept such statements.
"They reaffirm their unwavering commitment to the values of respect that should govern our sport. Thiago Silva and Paris St-Germain reserve the right to take any action they deem necessary."
PSG's statement also drew a conciliatory response from Marseille, in which the seven-time French champions promised an end to the affair.
"Olympique de Marseille and Joey Barton are keen to apologize to Thiago Silva and his club for the inappropriate comments made by the English player on social networks during the past 36 hours," said Marseille.
"This morning, the management asked Joey Barton to put an end to the attack on PSG's Brazilian defender. The Marseille midfielder pledged to immediately cease the posting of anything derogatory about Thiago Silva."
PSG travel to Rennes on Saturday before the return leg against Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.