AFL players Nick Larkey and Cameron Zurhaar have been nominated for The Frownlow Medal after defying pleas to self-isolate during the coronavirus.
The North Melbourne players hosted a raucous and noisy party late into the night, moments after the government and health authorities had asked people to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease.
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, while NRL player Ben Barba is the most recent recipient.
Larkey and Zurhaar initially denied doing anything wrong, claiming that when they saw ‘corona’ all over the news, they just thought it was an excuse to knock back some cans of Mexico’s most famous beverage. They have since apologised to their neighbours, who complained about the noise and the decision to invite friends to their home in the middle of a deadly pandemic. They can’t be suspended from playing obviously.
Hosting a party is the weakest nomination in the history of The Frownlow Medal. In the past, players have been nominated for offences as serious as assault, drug trafficking, prison sentences and rape. However, never before has a party with your mates had the potential to kill people.
The players were attacked on social media by the public and footy fans, who had just learned that the AFL season had been suspended for months.
The young Kangaroos join an already long list of nominees for Frownlow honours this year, but will be required to watch the Frownlow awards night from home.