Former NRL player Mark Coyne forgot to tell the Australian Rugby League Commission about the greatest honour to be bestowed upon him during his illustrious sporting career.
Coyne was nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame after being arrested and locked up in Singapore for hurling abusive language at local police officers following an argument with a taxi driver at the end of a boozy night out. However, he opted not to inform his employer of the incident when it happened.
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.
The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame honours former players and players who received media attention in previous seasons, for similarly scandalous behaviour, and its inductees include Ben Cousins and Julian O’Neill.
Coyne was apparently arrested and thrown in the back of a police van, where he continued to swear at the police officers. The former Queensland State of Origin hero was put in a cell overnight and then had his passport confiscated for seven weeks while the incident was processed through the courts. He was fined $4000 for his explicit tirade and has been stood down as ARL Commissioner.
“I got arrested in f…… Singapore – so it doesn’t really count. I mean, you can get f…… arrested here for f……spitting, so I don’t think it really compares to being f….. arrested or thrown in prison in Australia, like so many other Frownlow inductees have been. That’s why I didn’t report it to the ARLC,” Coyne explained.
“To be honest, I was f…. embarrassed. I don’t know if I even deserve the f……. Frownlow nomination.”
Coyne is now involved in a major controversy, not just because of his behaviour, but also because he did not tell anyone about the incident. It is alleged that he only informed the ARLC after he was contacted for comment by a journalist in Australia.
The ARLC, which oversees the NRL, have not commented publicly on Coyne’s Frownlow nomination, but are said to be overjoyed that another member of the Rugby League family is in contention for the greatest award in Australian sport.
The former Dragons club captain has a few anxious months ahead of him, as he awaits the decision of the Singapore police, the ARLC and the judges of The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.