Former AFL player Albert Proud is the latest professional footballer to join The Frownlow Medal Wife Beaters Club after pleading guilty to assaulting his former partner.
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, and 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.
Proud was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for seriously injuring his girlfriend during a drunken assault in 2015. He pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and wilful damage, but could have faced a murder charge had the woman not received medical attention immediately after the assault.
Reports indicate that Proud punched his girlfriend in the chest and attempted to strangle her after getting drunk at a friend’s wedding. The injuries were so severe that the woman spent 33 days in hospital and suffered lasting injuries.
This was not the first allegation of assault against Proud. The Brisbane Lions suspended him in 2009 after accusations of assault from a 23-year-old woman in a Gold Coast nightclub. Proud took leave from the club a year later to deal with alcohol issues. The Lions finally parted ways with him in 2011 after he assaulted a police officer.
Proud joins the following players in The Fronwlow Medal Wife Beaters Club: