Former NRL player Joel Romelo is the latest footballer to join The Frownlow Medal Wife Beaters Club after pleading guilty to savagely assaulting his ex-partner.
The Frownlow Medal Wife Beaters Club comprises footballers who have been found guilty of violence against women, and have been nominated for The Frownlow Medal or The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
Every member is given a Wife Beater Tattoo to remind them of their mistreatment of women.
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 club contains winners of The Frownlow Medal, including Jarryd Hayne and Elijah Taylor. Hayne won the medal in 2021 after being found guilty of sexual assault and sent to prison, while Taylor was found guilty of domestic violence and kicked out of the AFL.
Romelo pleaded guilty to attacking his ex-girlfriend in 2019. The court heard that he broke her eye socket during a violent attack, and ripped chunks from her hair, as well as punching and choking her until she almost lost consciousness, because she refused to give him the passcode to her phone.
Many footballers have also been inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame as a result of their crimes. Nick Stevens served time behind bars for viciously assaulting his former partner, and Craig Wells was also imprisoned for drugging and raping a teenage girl, after he had played for the Wallabies. Other members of this not-so-exclusive club are still playing in their respective codes, are still winning premierships, are still being selected in representative teams and are still being praised as role models to young people.
The Frownlow Medal Wife Beaters Club: