Would AFL player Gary Ablett Jr. like to recieve a nomination for The Frownlow Medal?
If news of the nomination were to appear on instagram, perhaps on http://www.instagram.com/thefrownlowmedal, would the Geelong champion greet it with a ‘like’, the same way he clicked ‘like’ to Isreal Folau’s controversial instagram post?
Ablett Jr and fellow AFL player Matthew Kennedy both initially ‘liked’ Folau’s homophobic instagram post, but have since removed their likes.
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. NRL player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015 and code-swapper Karmichael Hunt was the most recent recipient.
Ablett Jr and Kennedy were heavily criticised in the media and by a number of AFL fans and members of the community. Even though their ‘likes’ have since been removed, many people are still asking whether the players should have been punished for supporting or enabling Folau’s views.
A question that has not been asked, until now, is whether their actions on social media are enough to win The Frownlow Medal in 2019. Is liking a contentious social media post, which claims that gay people will go to hell, sufficient to claim the most prestigious award in Australian sport?
Is Folau’s post itself enough to win the award, in a year when other footballers have been nominated for assault, alcohol abuse, sex tapes and cases of alleged, and proven, violence against women?
Fans and players will find out later this year who has won The Frownlow Medal, and Frownlow judges will discover very soon if Ablett Jr and Kennedy like being nominated for the highly-coveted award.