Judges of the Frownlow Medal have blasted footballers for damaging the reputation of Australia’s most respected inter-code award through play fighting.
The criticism comes in response to the nomination of Pearce Hanley , who is under investigation by the Brisbane Lions for play fighting in a pub where he was watching UFC, just days after Dane Haylett-Petty was caught play fighting with his younger brother and Western Force teammate, Ross, in South Africa.
The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off-field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. The first medal was awarded to Sydney Roosters and New Zealand representative Shaun Kenny-Dowall in 2015.
The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame honours players who received media attention in previous seasons, for similarly scandalous behaviour, and its inductees include Ben Cousins and Todd Carney.
“Just hit someone”, led the lengthy statement from the judging committee of the Frownlow Medal and Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
“Play fighting is bringing this award into disrepute. In 2016 alone, 62 players have received nominations for Frownlow honours for engaging in genuinely scandalous behaviour, including drug and alcohol abuse, sexual harassment, trespassing, domestic violence, animal cruelty, drink driving, public urination and defecation, racism, abuse, nudity, incarceration, misuse of social media and even bestiality.”
“Play fighting will only water down the award, as will State of Origin players engaging in twitter battles before rugby league’s greatest rivalry.
If off-field incidents have sunken low enough to be played out on twitter, we might as well give the award to Nick Kyrgios.”