NRL player George Burgess has requested a naked, life-size statue of himself in The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame. The England international made the request immediately after he received a nomination for appearing naked on a gay porn website in 2013. He has assured judges he can supply photos for the sculptor, and is willing to assist with the creation of the statue.
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.
Burgess took two nude selfies in 2013 and they somehow made their way onto the gay porn site and were also circulated on Twitter. No one was able to explain how they ended up on the site, and no action was taken against Burgess by either the NRL or the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The photo scandal emerged just after Burgess had escaped punishment for another off-field scandal.
He was given a two-match suspension and a $10,000 fine after he was charged by Queensland police with throwing a street sign through a car window in Redlynch near Cairns. He was charged with two counts of wilful damage to a car and was ordered to undertake an anger management program and 50 hours of community work.
To strengthen his bid for a place in the hall of fame, he then got himself involved in a road rage incident in 2021, just weeks after signing a deal with the Dragons to return to the NRL. It is alleged that Burgess left his vehicle after he said he was being filmed by another driver, had an argument, and threw the man’s phone on the ground. He was charged with malicious damage.
George now joins brother Sam, who was nominated for Frownlow honours in 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 and earlier this year.
Burgess escaped any further punishment for the incident in 2013, and was free to continue playing with the Rabbitohs for the remainder of the season. He admitted at the time, via a generic footballer’s apology statement, that he is “…a role model for kids.”