Former AFL player Justin Sherman has been nominated for The Fronwlow Medal Hall of Fame after admitting to a racist slur.
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.
Sherman was playing for the Western Bulldogs in 2011 when he racially vilified a Gold Coast Suns player during a match, and later admitted to the offence.
Sherman was suspended for four matches and made a donation of $5000 to a charity. He also publicly apologised to the player involved and took part in the Bulldogs multicultural and community programs, and volunteered for the Red Dust Role Models program which provides mentoring and support in remote indigenous communities.
Sherman participated in these programs after he was caught racially vilifying a player on the field. This begs the questions:
Would he have participated in these programs if he was not serving a punishment?
Do professional footballers participate in such programs of their own free will, or only when required to by their club’s PR team?