AFL player Bailey Smith proved he is a great role model for young people after appearing in a viral social media image holding a bag of white powder and earning a nomination for The Frownlow Medal.
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.
Smith is one of the most popular and marketable faces of the AFL and is used in countless promotions for his club and the game of Australian Rules. He’s also not afraid to market himself and has the most social media followers of almost any Australian footballer. In addition, scores of Aussie kids try to grow their hair to emulate his famous flowing blonde mullet and this image appears in advertisements for the AFL and corporations.
The social media image shows Smith holding a small bag of an unknown white powder and smiling at the camera. There is no evidence that Smith in any way touched or consumed the powder, or exactly what is contained in the bag.
Once the AFL complete their investigation into the issue, Smith will find out if he faces any sanctions, and if he is a strong chance of winning the Frownlow in 2022.
The sporting ‘role model’ is no stranger to off field controversy, however. In 2021, he took a break from AFL after a late night police complaint was made against him at a pub on the Gold Coast. Following this incident, he did the inevitable media interview outlining his struggles with mental health. Perhaps the white powder helps him deal with his mental health issues. This incident also strengthens his nomination for this year’s Frownlow.
Smith might lose his title as ‘role model’, at least until the next AFL off-field scandal, but all is not lost. The video proves that he definitely deserves his invitation to the awards night for The Frownlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame later this year, where even the most mysterious substances are welcome.
Image: AAP, James Ross