Professional attention seeker Sam Newman leads four fellow AFL players in the largest mass nomination in the history of The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
Newman joins Dermott Brereton, Barry Hall, Garry Lyon and Nathan Buckley to be nominated for the comments about the treatment of former AFL player Adam Goodes.
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.
Goodes was driven out of the sport due to incessant booing and racist attacks on his Indigenous identity during multiple seasons.
All five players either failed to support Goodes during the controversy, or openly attacked him. Newman openly attacked Goodes during numerous rants on The Footy Show, while Lyon, Hall, Buckley and Brereton implied that the racist treatment was not as bad as Goodes claimed it was, publicly advised Goodes to forget about it or argued that the booing had nothing to do with race.
All five players did so through the media in their positions as respected commentators and heroes of the sport.
Every player, except Brereton, has been nominated for the Hall of Fame before. Newman receives regular nominations in his role as a professional attention seeker and has amassed a long list of public scandals provoked by his enormous mouth and ego.
Lyon was nominated for stealing the wife of former teammate and friend Billy Brownless, and Buckley for breaching strict bio-security protocols during COVID-19 lockdowns. Hall, meanwhile, was known as Bad Barry for countless incidents of foul play on the field – plus, he appeared on reality TV, and he fought Paul Gallen.
So vicious was the racist treatment of Goodes that it not only drove the famous player out of the game, but it prompted two documentaries: The Final Quarter and The Australian Dream.