Former AFL player Alastair Clarkson has received his second nomination for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame due to his involvement in the Hawthorn Hawks racism 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.
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.
The ABC has revealed that senior coaches and officials made exceptional demands on Indigenous players all for the sake of winning football games. The allegations involve Clarkson and his assistant at the time, Chris Fagan.
During the time in which Hawthorn won four premierships, the club is accused of bullying, removing First Nations players from their homes and relocating them, and telling them to choose between their careers and their families.
Clarkson is also accused of coercing players to remove SIM cards and insert new ones in attempts to cut them off from their partners and focus them entirely on the club. In each case, the player was a young First Nations draftee in his first five years with the club.
Furthermore, the premiership-winning coach was accused of intimidating players and attempting to separate couples at the earliest stages of pregnancies and parenthood, and demanding that one player should instruct his partner to terminate a pregnancy. It is also alleged Clarkson insisted on visiting a player’s house and offered commentary on the house’s cleanliness.
As a result of the alleged bullying, two of the families have recently been provided with mental health assistance from the AFL Players’ Association due to the suicide risks associated with reliving their traumas for the sake of the official review into the accusations.
Clarkson has also been nominated for Frownlow honours before. In 2017, he was nominated for the hall of fame for verbally abusing a 19-year-old match official at his son’s footy game, punching a hole in the wall of a coaches box, calling a journalist a ‘cockhead’ and grabbing the throat of a fan outside a pub.
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