You’d think a plate of armour on your rump would keep you safe from coronavirus, but it was not enough to protect AFL player Steele Sidebottom from the deadly disease. Sidebottom and teammate Lynden Dunn are the latest footballers to succumb to the pandemic, and are under investigation after they breached COVID-19 return to play protocols.
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.
Sidebottom and Dunn breached protocols after sharing an Uber and visiting the home of a Collingwood Magpies staff member who is not on the list of people players are allowed to visit. The Magpies players apparently had a few drinks at the house of an injured teammate, before hopping in the Uber to visit the staff member. Both players face suspension.
Dunn reportedly exits the stage at this point, but Sidebottom’s drama continues, and this is why he could face a longer suspension than his teammate. Sidebottom was seen near the staff member’s house the next morning and had to be driven home by police. He was not charged with any offence, as it is believed that police were just amazed to see ‘something completely different: a man with a side bottom’
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley defended Sidebottom’s behaviour, telling the press that it happened because Sidebottom had been drinking less recently, and that a few drinks at the house of his teammate shocked his system and caused him to make poor decisions.
It is believed that Buckley is speaking out of his side bottom.