The NRL has announced the release of a ‘Wife Beater’ tattoo ahead of the 2019 season following a recent run of players being charged with domestic violence incidents.
Zane Musgrove is the latest NRL player to be nominated for The Frownlow Medal in 2019 after he was charged with indecent assault. The new Wests Tigers recruit allegedly committed the offence at a nightspot in Sydney last month. This follows the allegations against Sea Eagles player Dylan Walker and the ongoing court cases involving Jarryd Hayne.
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. Kiwi international Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while Karmichael Hunt is the most recent recipient.
The NRL announced the plan from its headquarters at Moore Park.
“We know our players love tattoos,” stated an NRL spokesperson.
“It seems some of them also love perpetrating acts of violence against women. So, we decided to combine the two and make available to first grade players a special edition ‘Wife Beater’ tattoo, which they can proudly display in court and on the field.”
The striking tattoo will be available to any player who is involved in an incident of violence against women and will be inked on the players arms or hands, or whichever limb was used to inflict the damage on the female victim.
Musgrove was charged alongside Penrith Panthers junior Liam Coleman, who will not qualify for Frownlow honours until he plays a game of first grade, but will be offered a ‘baby tattoo’ by the NRL, so that he can feel like one of the big boys.
“It will be a great reminder of Liam’s character when he becomes a member of an NRL leadership group and a role model to young players in the future,” confided an NRL insider.
This is the second charge of assault against Musgrove in 2018. Earlier this year he was charged with domestic violence while playing for the Rabbitohs, though those charges were dropped in court.
The AFL and Super Rugby are said to be considering a similar initiative for their players, past and present, especially former Port Adelaide and Carlton player Nick Miller and ex-Wallaby Craig Wells. Meanwhile, the A-League is reportedly feeling left on the sidelines because none of their players, past or present, have ever been charged with violence against women.
Tattoo artists throughout Australia are preparing themselves for a rush of requests from footballers, and their fans, in the lead up to Christmas and in the months preceding the 2019 winter football season. Conversely, judges of The Frownlow Medal are readying themselves for a highly competitive assault on the most prestigious award in Australian sport.