AFL legend Barry Cable has been nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame after being accused of alleged child sex abuse.
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 Manase Fainu 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.
A woman alleges Cable attempted to rape her in the change room of the Perth Football Club in the early 1970s. She is seeking damages of around $1 million, claiming she was “catastrophically damaged by the sexual abuse she suffered”.
The 79-year-old footy great denies all the allegations and has never been charged.
The woman claims Cable started abusing her is the late 1960s, when she was a teenager living in the same neighbourhood as him. Cable allegedly told her “he would teach her about the facts of life and the birds and the bees” so “she would be a big hit with men” before he regularly molested her at various locations including in his car.
Media reports indicate that the woman also alleges he would frequently refer to his penis as “his totem pole” and that he took her to the Perth Football Club, where in the change rooms, he forced her onto a bench, attempted to rape her and struck her across the mouth as they were driving home.
The woman claims Mr Cable also threatened to sexually abuse her younger sister if she did not comply with his instructions or “properly appreciate his attention”.
The initial abuse is alleged to have happened while the girl was aged between about 12 and 17, but the woman also says the sexual behaviour and harassment continued after she turned 18, including when she says Mr Cable employed her as his private nurse after he injured his leg in 1979 in a tractor accident.
The woman says she was molested at the old East Perth football oval on Lord Street and that Mr Cable would regularly turn up at her home without invitation, causing her to become “increasingly fearful and intimidated” by him.
Cable states he had a three-year “consensual sexual relationship” with the woman around 1983.
However, he denies “any allegedly illegal or improper contact” with the woman, arguing he was never alone with her when she was a minor. He also points out that between 1974 and 1977, he and his family lived in Melbourne because he was playing for North Melbourne in the VFL.
Two more women have since come forward to give evidence in the court case.
Cable is innocent until proven guilty. Even if he is found guilty, he will not be the first Australian footy player to have sexually abused a child. Former Wallaby, Craig Wells, was found guilty of drugging and raping a 14-year-old girl.