Jamil Hopoate is the latest footballer to win The Frownlow Medal Wife Beater Tattoo after pleading guilty to assaulting his partner. Hopoate should be behind bars but avoided the sentence because he contracted COVID-19, and is now the only person in the world to celebrate catching the disease.
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 star Jarryd Hayne 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 Wife Beater Tattoo combines two of the great loves of many professional footballers: tattoos and mistreating women.
The former NRL player and son of John Hopoate pleaded guilty to the assault of his partner, which occurred in front of a child, at the Panthers Port Macquarie club in December 2020, and was sentenced to a 12-month sentence to be served in the community by way of an intensive corrections order. He pleaded guilty to seven offences, including two counts of common assault – domestic violence related, one count of common assault, two counts of stalking/intimidation, as well as driving without a license and mid-range drinking driving.
During court proceedings, Jamil’s lawyer blamed his actions on the pressure of living up to the name of his father, who played representative NRL, but is more famous for countless on-field and off-field scandals. John was inducted into The Fronwlow Medal Hall of Fame in 2016, and Jamil followed him in 2021.
Jamil’s brother, Will, also played NRL and avoided any form of controversy during a career in which he represented NSW. Will only drew attention to himself when he took time out of the game, at the height of his powers, to carry out a religious mission. Jamil and Will grew up under the same roof.
Jamil’s lawyer said:
“It’s a hard thing to be told he will not play and not achieve the same level as his father and his brother. This caused issues and he responded inappropriately.”
Does this justify assaulting a woman?