Former AFL players Royce Vardy and Jay Schulz have been nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame after being charged with drink driving. The two separate incidents are all the more severe due to the fact that the Transport Accident Commission was the major sponsor of their Richmond club when both players were charged.
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.
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.
Vardy committed his offence in 2001 and Schulz decided to surpass his colleague. In 2005, Schulz was found guilty of drink driving and speeding at a time when the slogan warning all Australians to obey the road rules was,
“If you drink and drive, you’re a bloody idiot.”
Schulz had his licence suspended for six months and was fined $5000. He also copped a swipe from Richmond managers, who told the press,
“…he’s been in the system three years, so the amount of education he’s had on this has been extensive.”
The former Tigers remain circumspect of their chances of induction. A driving offence while playing for a team sponsored by a government department promoting road safety was not enough to earn Geelong’s Joel Selwood a place in the Hall of Fame in 2016.
Schulz has a greater chance than Vardy, having been involved in a highly publicised training stoush with teammate Jackson Trengove in 2011.
If Schulz and Vardy do snag an invite to the awards ceremony, one imagines they will be catching the bus.