Gach Nyoun’s late night altercation with an Uber driver earned him his first Frownlow nomination and announced a new era of alcohol-induced football scandals.
The 19-year-old Essendon rookie is currently under investigation for making threats to kill, criminal damage, resisting arrest and being drunk in a public place during the incident, which occurred in Fitzroy.
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.
Nyoun’s predecessors battled with taxi drivers, but modern footballers create their scandals with a tap on a smart phone.
“Taxis are old school,” declared Nyoun.
“They’re for the veterans and the coaches. These days, if young players want to get somewhere in the Frownlow, they order an Uber.”
Nyoun channeled the spirit of fellow Frownlow nominees Trent Dumont, Jake Friend, Willie Mason, Reni Maitua, Michael Hurley and Daniel Kerr, who damaged taxis, or their drivers, on the way to Frownlow nominations.
North Melbourne’s Dumont was charged with aggravated robbery of a taxi driver in Adelaide in 2014, when he was still 19.
Friend earned his Hall of Fame nomination for being arrested after an altercation with a taxi driver in 2009. Both the taxi driver and police struggled to wake the intoxicated 19-year-old Roosters player, who then became abusive upon waking up.
It was thought the incident might end Friend’s career, but, in 2016, he is still playing in the same position for the same club.
Perennial bad boy Reni Maitua was charged with intimidating a taxi driver while playing for the Canterbury Bulldogs, in 2014, after a night of extremely heavy drinking, while another former Bulldogs player, Mason, earned his nomination for running away from a taxi in 2002.
Essendon alumnus Hurley also tried to run away from a taxi following the Grand Final Footy Show after party in 2009, but he was caught…by the taxi driver. Perhaps out of shame, or intoxication, or a burning desire to grab the last Whopper at Hungry Jacks, Hurley assaulted the taxi driver.
Former West Coast Eagle Kerr jumped onto the boot of a taxi, ripped off the car’s aerial and threw it at the driver’s face in 2007, following a stellar off-field career which places him well in contention for Hall of Fame induction.
Grant, of the Western Bulldogs, made a concerted attempt at induction when he opened the door of a moving taxi in Hong Kong in 2010.
Meanwhile, Sydney Swans star Lance “Buddy’ Franklin is someone who probably should have taken a taxi – or an Uber.
First published in July 2016.