AFL player Tyson Stengle has presented authorities with something of a conundrum. He’s allowed to drink under COVID-19 restrictions, and he’s allowed to drive, but he’s not allowed to drink and drive. He did mix driving with alcohol, and earned himself a nomination for The Frownlow Medal.
The Adelaide Crows player recorded a reading more than double the legal limit, and was driving an unregistered car, at a time when everyone is being asked to stay at home unless they have a valid reason for travelling. The new COVID-19 restrictions are confusing for most of us, and for a professional footballer they must be all the more confusing.
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.
Stengle was caught just moments after fellow AFL player Lachie Hunter allegedly smashed into four parked cars after driving intoxicated, and fleeing the scene of the accident. Is this the year that AFL players finally wrest control of The Frownlow Medal from the NRL?
The irony, of course, is that many of the players who have so far been nominated for The Frownlow Medal this year would normally face suspension, but it’s hard to suspend a player from a competition that is not actually happening.