Bailey Smith quits AFL.

Bailey Smith has shocked Australia with news that he will quit the AFL to deal with mental health issues following his latest off-field scandal.

Smith was recently punished for appearing in a social media post holding a bag of white powder, and he raised mental health battles when discussing the incident with the media. He has since quit the sport entirely to start a new career.

“I will step aside from the AFL immediately,” Smith announced through a prepared statement.

“I have made this difficult decision for reasons of mental health. My battles with mental health have been well documented, even after my latest off-field scandal and subsequent nomination for The Fronwlow Medal.”

His next career move was as big a shock as his decision to leave the sport.

“I will spend six months of the year as a school teacher and the next six months as a nurse, so that I can gain a more accurate understanding of mental health struggles,” the Western Bulldogs star explained.

“I will teach secondary students, most likely as a PD/H/PE teacher, for the remainder of this year. I chose teaching because I want to learn exactly what mental health struggles look like. I want to experience the constant drain of secondary school teaching in underfunded schools where teachers are overworked and underpaid and constantly under attack from parents and students. I want to understand the mental health strain on people who are vital to the nation but are completely undervalued and often criticised by Australian society, in contrast to footballers who are adored for simply playing a game they love.”

“On a personal note, I want to feel what it’s like to be ignored, teased, criticised or even physically attacked by teenagers, including some who’ll become professional footballers in a few years time. If you’d heard the stories the boys tell in the locker room about their school days, you’d know what I mean.”

Australians were just as shocked to learn that a person with no teaching experience or qualifications could simply walk into a full-time teaching position, but such is the shortage of teachers in Australia – created largely through the mental health strain placed on teachers.

After teaching for six months, Smith then plans to work as a nurse.

“I will work as a nurse for similar reasons,” he outlined.

“I want to truly understand the mental health strain of working an extremely stressful and underpaid job which was made a lot worse during the pandemic, and was bad enough before COVID-19.”

“I want to live through the emotional and psychological strain of caring for sick, injured, scared, smelly, dirty, abused, unstable, violent, dying people on a daily basis without proper remuneration or even adequate personal protection equipment.”

“I also want to be on the other side when a professional footballer abuses drugs or alcohol and has to be saved from themselves.”

Bailey then explained exactly why he had chosen these two careers above any other.

“Above all, I want to know what it’s like to be given gratitude instead of a reasonable wage.”

The nursing and teaching jobs will keep Smith out of the AFL until June 2023. Will the social media darling be back in the AFL, and back into contention for The Fronwlow Medal?

Only time will tell. Or maybe he will be back on the field once he reviews his bank balance.

Image: AAP, James Ross

More details emerge in Bailey Smith saga.

Bailey Smith‘s chances of winning The Frownlow Medal have increased after more details of his off-field behaviour emerged. The AFL star recently earned his first nomination for a controversial social media image but apparently this is not his first scandal.

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 recently hit the headlines when an image went viral on social media showing him holding a bag of white powder and smiling. It is not clear what is in the bag, and there is no evidence Smith consumed the substance. Since that controversy, more details have emerged which increase his chances of beating the 19 other nominees for The Frownlow Medal in 2022.

The viral image was apparently taken at a party in late 2021, and at the same time another photo was taken showing Smith ‘wiping his nose after leaning over’. The implications are strong, although again nothing has been proven, and perhaps the Western Bulldogs player simply had a cold.

This is not all, however.

At the time the photos were taken, Smith was apparently on a mental health break from AFL, but took that break after an investigation into complaints that he was behaving badly at a Gold Coast club and had to be spoken to by authorities.

Also in 2021, Smith created yet more controversy just moments into his young career. He appeared in another social media video boasting of his intention to pursue temporary connections with various women during a night out with friends, and said so in a way that was in not at all romantic.

The behaviour of a true role model.

The social media star surrounded himself in controversy even earlier in his career when photos of him emerged on the internet apparently naked, or close to naked. Smith was not responsible for the photos, which had been doctored by someone else, but he famously reacted to the scandal by posting an emoji of an eggplant, and his many social media followers know exactly what that means.

Smith and his legion of fans are anxious to know if he will face consequences for his latest scandal, but the most important question is, has he done enough to win The Frownlow Medal?

Image: AAP, James Ross

Kids should copy Bailey Smith.

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