Don’t be surprised if you missed the announcement of Steven May‘s nomination for The Frownlow Medal. The AFL player quietly slipped it in to the sporting conversation recently when he enjoyed a few drinks while recovering from injury.
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.
Even May’s club, Melbourne, believed the weekend visit to the pub was almost unworthy of a Frownlow nomination as they declined to punish him. If a club declines to impose a punishment on a player, their chances of winning the most prestigious award in Australian sport are very slim.
May faces an even tougher challenge in a year which has attracted the strongest nominations in the history of the award. Already, seven NRL players have been nominated for allegations of violence against women, a few have been found guilty of assault, and the sporting public has been divided by a tweet from Australia’s most famous homophobe.
It seems like Steven may struggle to win The Frownlow Medal in 2019.