NRL rookie Tristan Sailor has been nominated for The Frownlow Medal after becoming the fourth professional footballer to be the subject of a current police investigation for sexual assault of a woman. Sailor joins fellow rugby league players Jarryd Hayne and Jack de Belin plus AFL player Jordan de Goey with ongoing legal proceedings relating to sexual assault.
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.
During the time Sailor spent with the woman at the Beach Road Hotel in Bondi and at her home, he is accused of giving the alleged victim a sedative. He then allegedly assaulted the woman before discarding her in a state that was described as ‘extremely vulnerable’. The woman was reportedly found unconscious by her friend.
Sailor has not spoken to the press, but a number of former NRL players have provided affidavits to police in support of the rising star, including his former coach Paul McGregor and rugby league immortal Darren Lockyer, both of whom have been nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame for offences related to alcohol abuse. The same Darren Lockyer who earned one of his Frownlow nominations for joking about the Canterbury Bulldogs gang rape scandal in 2004.
Sailor is also not the first footballer to be nominated for Frownlow honours alongside his father. Sailor’s father Wendell was nominated for cocaine use in 2006 and for a pub fight in South Africa. Aussie Rules duos Roger and Daniel, and Jim and Andrew Krakouer also attracted the attention of Frownlow judges for off-field controversies.
The talented half was recently left without a club for 2021 after the St George-Illawarra Dragons decided not to renew his contract, and the outcome of his court case may determine whether he plays professional football ever gain.