Former NRL player Brad Fittler made a terrible on air blunder and has earned himself another nomination for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
Fittler was commentating on the game between South Sydney and Parramatta when a Rabbitohs player passed the ball to a teammate and got it back from his teammate before diving over the line to score, prompting Fittler to call the Souths player an ‘Indian Giver’ – not once but twice.
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 AFL player Elijah Taylor 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.
The rugby league legend may not be aware but the term Indian Giver is considered offensive in the United States. The phrase has its origins in the early days of the colonisation of the US, and referred to the tradition of giving a gift and expecting a gift in return. It’s original use might have been innocent, but it came to describe people so ungenerous that they take back gifts as soon as they are given or immediately demand a present in return. In more recent times, it was used in a derogatory way to refer to First Nations people of North America.
The NSW Blues player and coach earned his first Frownlow nomination in 2018. He was once labelled ‘the drunkest human being ever’ by police after he was found lying outside Glebe Police Station in Sydney. On another occasion, he was drunk and half naked and tried to enter the hotel room of two women.
Fittler has now been given another chance to enter The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame, as well as free enrolment in a history course at an adult community college.