Payne Haas vs Marcelo Montoya.

Who wins in a head to head battle between Payne Haas and Marcelo Montoya?

Both NRL players recently earned nominations for The Frownlow Medal for separate incidents and received different punishments.

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.

So, who comes out on top, the prop or the winger?

Let’s examine the incidents.

Warriors winger Montoya called Kyle Feldt a ‘fa//ot’ during a recent game against the North Queensland Cowboys and received a four week suspension for a homophobic slur. Feldt is married with children and there is no suspicion that he is gay. In addition, Feldt has been playing in the NRL for many years, and has played State of Origin for Queensland. He has given and taken sledges before, and has no doubt developed a thick skin. Yet, Montoya claims he was simply trying to get under Feldt’s skin and put him off his game when he used the term. Did it work against such an experienced player?

Also, how many members of the public actually heard Montoya use the word?

Furthermore, if Feldt is not gay, as we can rightly assume, is a homophobic slur actually offensive? Yes, it’s offensive to gay men throughout the world, but is it actually offensive to Feldt?

Haas, meanwhile, received a one week suspension for alcohol-fuelled violence. He got drunk and punched his own teammate, Albert Kelly, in the head during a physical altercation. He was also fined $10,000, despite the fact that he has a record. He received two prior Frownlow nominations; for refusing to cooperate with the NRL Integrity Unit in 2019, and for intimidating police in 2021.

Kelly was also suspended for one week, and fined $5000, for his part in the fight, and is also known to The Frownlow Medal.

Four weeks for a homophobic slur. One week for alcohol fuelled violence.

Image: NuNa

Marcelo Montoya challenges Israel Folau.

NRL player Marcelo Montoya has challenged Israel Folau for the title of Australia’s most homophobic footballer after an offensive slur earned him 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.

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.

Montoya called opposing winger Kyle Feldt a ‘fa//ot’ during a game against the North Queensland Cowboys, and the New Zealand Warriors winger received a four-match ban from the NRL.

Folau is the country’s most famous homophobe after posting notoriously offensive comments on social media which saw him sacked by Rugby Australia and cast out of professional football in Australia.

Montoya, meanwhile, claims the comment was made in the heat of the moment during a game and that he was simply trying to get under Feldt’s skin. Feldt is married with kids and has played years of NRL football, including State of Origin. Did it get under his skin?

The Warriors club pleaded for a reduced sentence from the NRL judiciary, arguing that Montoya is of good character with an unblemished record. They’re obviously forgetting his earlier Fronwlow nomination in 2018 when he was fined $10,000 for his involvement in the Canterbury Bulldogs Mad Monday celebrations.

Has Montoya done enough to steal the title from Folau, and has he done enough to win The Frownlow Medal in 2022?

Image: Ian Hitchcock

What’s the difference between Haneen Zreika and Israel Folau?

AFLW player Haneen Zreika and former AFL player Israel Folau both attracted criticism for their public stance on same-sex relationships, but what is the difference between the two?

Zreika plays for Folau’s former club Greater Western Sydney Giants, and surrounded herself in controversy after refusing to wear a special rainbow jersey promoting the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Folau was eventually kicked out of rugby union, which he played as well as rugby league, because he posted two social media messages which offended the LGBTQIA+ community.

Zreika refused to wear the pride jersey with her Giants teammates due to her strong Muslim faith, and was subsequently left out of the team for the game against Western Bulldogs. Zreika was the first Muslim AFLW player when she debuted in 2019. Folau offended the LGBT+ community due to homophobia grounded in his strong Christian beliefs, and essentially wrote that all homosexuals go to hell.

The role of religion.

Zreika and Folau justified their stance on religious grounds. Zreika said she had a responsibility to represent her faith and community and that she respects people regardless of their sexual orientation.

Does she?

The faith she represents declares homosexuality a sin. The doctrine of the Muslim faith, when applied in society, declares homosexuality a crime which can, in some cases, be punishable by death.

Is Zreika devout?

Zreika chose not to wear the pride jersey due to her devotion. However, she wears the typical AFLW uniform every week and this is far too revealing for a Muslim woman, displaying the limbs and the hair. If Zreika was devout, would she not cover up even when playing sport, as many women from Muslim countries do in many other sports?

Interestingly, she did actually play in the pride round, the week before the jersey was worn, and ran through the traditional AFL banner at the start of the game which celebrated the LGBT+ community, and read:

“Pride round: an inclusive game for all. Everyone is welcome.”

The pride jersey was delayed until the Giants played at home the following week. Thus, did Zreika object to the pride round, or just the jersey? How likely is it that she was criticised by the Muslim community for participating in pride round and felt pressured to make a stance the following week?

To what extent was the decision Zreika’s, and to what extent was the opinion of the Muslim community, and its powerful men, made known to Zreika?

We will probably never know.

Religion also motivated Folau’s comments. The cross-code star posted a message claiming that hell was God’s plan for homosexuals. This attracted enormous criticism from many people, but Folau defended the comments as being true to his strong Christian faith. He was also warned that if he posted another similar message, he would lose his contract with Rugby Australia. He did so, and lost his contract.

Zreika posted a message on social media saying:

“…people are able to respect their right to choose how they live their life as long as they don’t advocate hate and division.”

Folau’s post clearly created hate and division, and this is the major difference between him and Zreika. Throughout the entire ugly process, Folau claimed he should be free to express his views because they are based on his religious beliefs.

Zreika is a Muslim.

Various commentators have suggested that the only difference is that Zreika is a Muslim, and that is why she has not been criticised as strongly as Folau. These commentators suggest that Australians are too scared to criticise Muslims due to political correctness of for fear of being labelled Islamophobic. They also claim these same people have no problems attacking Christians like Folau.

You can’t please all the people all the time…

The governing body has made great efforts to embrace all members of Australian society. They are the first and only major sports code in Australia to host a pride round.

Why?

Out of a genuine respect for the LGBT+ community?

Because they’re chasing the pink dollar?

Because many AFLW players are lesbians? (Are any AFL players gay?)

Political correctness?

For whatever, the AFL is known to include the LGBT+ community. They also embrace the Muslim community, especially in Giants territory. The fact that Zreika plays for the Giants added another complication for the AFL. Western Sydney is home to the majority of Sydney’s Muslim community, and if they are going to support any AFL team, it is the Giants.

The game involving the rainbow jersey, however, was played at Henson Park in Sydney’s inner west, a region famous for embracing gender and sexual diversity.

Was the Zreika case inevitable? Was the AFL bound to find itself in an unwinnable situation by publicly courting two communities which are diametrically opposed? One can only imagine the stressful meetings which must have taken place within the Giants and the AFL who were both desperate to avoid offending either group, while supporting both.

Some AFL fans are Muslim.

Some AFL fans are homosexual.

Some AFL fans don’t like Muslims or homosexuals.

The AFL is trying to appease them all.

It’s not possible to support the LGBT+ community and the Muslim community while Muslims consider homosexuality a sin or a crime. The AFL thinks it can. That said, the AFL could be said to have taken a stand. Zreika was stood down for the game, which punished her and her teammates.

Zreika has the support and respect of her teammates.

Zreika consulted her teammates, spoke to them face to face, and discussed her actions with the Giants and the AFL. Folau posted a spontaneous, offensive and hurtful message on social media, without context. Zreika certainly went about her actions in a far more mature, civilised, intelligent and respectful manner than Folau.

While Zreika reportedly had the support of her teammates, Folau also did, at least after the fact. Many professional footballers, including Gary Ablett Jr, Tim Mannah, Brad Takairangi, Curtis Rona and Taniela Tupou ‘liked’ and endorsed his posts on social media.

It’s only sport

The case also highlights the enormous strain placed on sport in Australia. Sport is so vital to Australian culture that social causes and social conflicts often manifest in sport – which is ultimately supposed to be nothing more than healthy fun. Perhaps Australians are expecting too much of sport as a vehicle for social change.

Haneen Zreika and Israel Folau both offended the LGBTQIA+ community with actions grounded in their strong religious beliefs. Folau was nominated for The Fronwlow Medal, should Zreika also be nominated?

So, what if the difference between them?

Zreika can actually play Aussie Rules.

Image: NuNa

The Frownlow Medal welcomes back two of its biggest stars.

The Frownlow Medal is delighted to welcome back into its family Israel Folau and Jack de Belin after both moved one step closer to resuming their football careers. Folau and de Belin have been locked out of Australia’s most prestigious award but could return to the field very soon.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

Former NSW Blue de Belin is set to play for the St George-Illawarra Dragons reserve-grade team this weekend against Western Suburbs, and once he inevitably returns to first-grade, he will be eligible for The Frownlow Medal. Folau, meanwhile, has launched legal action to force his way back into the NRL via the Queensland lower-grade competition.

Tyhe back-rower has been allowed to play again after his court case for alleged sexual assault dragged on for years but was unable to find a verdict, and all charges were dropped. Folau was kicked out of rugby league and rugby union after multiple homophobic social media posts, but is desperately seeking Frownlow eligibility via a legal case funded by one of Australia’s richest men, Clive Palmer.

Folau’s legal team have accused the NRL and The Frownlow Medal of religious discrimination, and argue that:

“…Israel doesn’t drink, smoke or take drugs. He has never been charged with a criminal offence, he hasn’t assaulted any women…”

How then does he expect to win The Frownlow Medal?

Folau’s many supporters argue that his social media posts should never have been punished because they are an example of free speech.

NSW rugby league officials, meanwhile, have promised to provide extra security for de Belin “to ensure Jack de Belin’s return to rugby league is conducted in the right spirit”. They have advised that “…if anyone goes there with the intention of trying to disturb anyone’s proper enjoyment of the day, we need to be ready to deal with that…” and that anyone planning to display “offensive signs” aimed at de Belin will have those signs removed.

So much for free speech.

Image: NuNa

Israel Folau opens yet another lawsuit.

Former football star Israel Folau has launched legal action against The Frownlow Medal claiming he did not win the award due to religious discrimination. Folau claims his numerous homophobic social media posts warranted a medal and that he will seek compensation through the courts.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

Folau has never won the biggest prize in Australian sport, despite being nominated in 2018 and 2019, and despite playing first-grade AFL, for the Wallabies, and for the Queensland State of Origin team. He is also attempting to fight his way back into the NRL, so he can take another shot at winning The Frownlow Medal.

The cross-code star revealed his intention to sue the judges of the prize during a press conference for his planned return to football with the Southport Tigers lower-grade rugby league team in Queensland. Folau has not played professional football of any kind in Australia since his latest homophobic social media post cost him his contract with Rugby Australia.

He claimed to be very confident of winning the court case as he has the financial backing of Clive Palmer and the most powerful ally of all – The Lord Almighty. Folau also accused the Frownlow judges of religious discrimination in not giving him the medal, which went to Karmichael Hunt in 2018, and Ben Barba in 2019, neither of whom profess any strong religious devotion.

Judges of the medal deny any accusations of religious discrimination, or any other form of discrimination, and invite Folau to read the articles on this website, and to peruse http://www.instagram.com/thefrownlowmedal to see that all nominees are judged by their actions alone.

Image: NuNa

Jarryd Hayne vs Israel Folau in Battle of the Christians.

Israel Folau could face off against Jarryd Hayne for The Frownlow Medal in 2021 if the banished cross-code star is allowed back into professional football. The showdown is being billed as Battle of the Christians but can only happen if the NRL or Super Rugby let Folau sign a professional contract.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

Battle of the Christians would be magnificent,” claimed event promoters, the Australian Christian Lobby.

“In one corner is Jarryd Hayne, convicted rapist and Hillsong Church member. In the other corner is Israel Folau, a member of Truth of Jesus Christ Church and Australia’s most famous homophobe. It is only fitting that these two role models fight for Australia’s most prestigious medal.”

“This showdown would be bigger than the Crusades, bigger than the Reformation, bigger even than one of Paul Gallen’s boxing matches.”

The showdown is only possible if the NRL welcome Folau back to the code after he was kicked out of Rugby Union and Rugby League for one too many homophobic tweets. So desperate are event organisers to see Folau take on Hayne for the medal that they initiated a social media campaign under the hashtag LetHimPlay.

“This is a widespread and expensive campaign, and shows how serious we are about seeing two devout Christians contest The Frownlow Medal.”

“Many punters doubt Israel could defeat Jarryd for the Frownlow this year,” continued the spokesman.

“Yes, Jarryd was found guilty of rape, but if Israel was allowed to return, that would give him a licence to make increasingly outrageous and homophobic statements an a daily basis. Again, it might be argued that they’re only words, and nothing compared to sexually assaulting a young woman, but advocates and workers in various sectors remind us that deeply homophobic comments can have a devastating effect on members of the LGBTQI community, especially young people, and especially when those comments come from an athlete who is held up as a role model.”

“There could be grave consequences to giving Israel a platform to exercise his right to free speech. Consequences that would put him in contention to win The Frownlow Medal.”

The Australian Christian Lobby also advised against mocking their media campaign to have Folau reinstated.

“Remember, Scott Morrison is a fairweather football fan and a member of the Pentecostal church which shaped Jarryd Hayne, so we are confident of our influence in the halls of power. Admittedly, Israel did claim that Scott would go to hell, but Israel says that about everyone outside the 30-strong congregation of his church, and the PM has a famously short memory when it suits him.

What’s more, Frownlow judges even nominated a woman this year, so Israel certainly deserves a nomination.”

Image: NuNa

Kotoni Staggs earns another Frownlow nomination.

NRL player Kotoni Staggs has earned his second nomination for The Frownlow Medal after an alleged homophobic slur during an incident at a pub.

Staggs is reported to have directed the homophobic comment at a member of the public during an incident at a pub in Dubbo during the off season, and was fined $10,000 by the NRL.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

The Brisbane star earned his first nomination in 2020 when he joined Broncos teammate for a night out which was in breach of COVID-19 protocols. He will not be issued with any further punishment for the latest incident, but will miss many games this season due to a serious injury.

Whole he rests, Staggs can use this time to consult with Israel Folau on how to deal with issues of sexuality in the modern world.

Image: NuNa

Was Moses Homophobic?

Moses is famous for his divisive actions, but did you know that he was also homophobic? He is not the first of his kind to stigmatise homosexuality, and he may not be the last. NRL player Mitchell Moses was once sanctioned for homophobic comments and has earned himself a nomination for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor 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.

Moses was given a two-match ban for directing a homophobic comment at a Queensland player during a junior State of Origin match in 2014. Mitchell called Luke Bateman a “fucking gay cunt” and his slur was picked up by the TV microphone. Viewers heard it loud and clear.

The comment is not quite in the same league as Australia’s most famous homophobe, Israel Folau, but it introduced young Moses to the big time and to the NRL Integrity Unit. Will Moses go down in history as one who divided, and will he join the greats in The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame?

Image: NuNa

Margaret Court denied Australia’s highest honour.

Controversial tennis star Margaret Court has been ruled ineligible for the greatest prize in Australia on the eve of the country’s national day of celebration. Court and her supporters are furious that she will never win The Frownlow Medal or be inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame despite a lifetime of bigoted public statements.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor 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.

Conservative commentators have slammed the decision and attacked the judges of The Frownlow Medal for pandering to woke, left-wing, latte sipping, inner-city progressives.

“This is a disgrace,” blasted her supporters.

“Margaret Court deserves to win the Frownlow or be in the hall of fame, but she hasn’t even been nominated. Israel Folau got nominated twice for his homophobia, and heaps of players from NRL, AFL and Rugby were nominated just for ‘liking’ his comments on social media, but Margaret got nothing,” they argued.

“The simple fact is that if Margaret was a footy player, she’d be in the hall of fame for sure.”

As a tennis player, Court won numerous grand slams and is Australia’s most successful player. Since retiring, however, she has regularly made the news for grossly intolerant statements which are completely out of touch with modern Australian society.

Court’s controversial statements are many, and are targeted especially at gay and lesbian relationships, due to her strong religious beliefs. She once wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper lamenting the decision of fellow Aussie tennis player Casey Dellacqua to have a child within a same-sex relationship.

“It is with sadness that I see that this baby has seemingly been deprived of a father,” she wrote.

Court has also been quoted as saying that transgender children are the work of the devil, and she was branded a racist and a homophobe by fellow tennis legend Martina Navratilova. Further comments linked childhood gender dysphoria to Hitler and communism, and praised the apartheid system of South Africa.

“Even her racism didn’t get her nominated,” stated her supporters. “So many footy players have been nominated for racist comments but again Margaret got nothing from The Frownlow Medal.”

Frownlow judges reminded Court’s supporters that the award is only open to footballers, not tennis players. Instead, the Christian pastor will have to content herself with the Officer of the Order of Australia she already holds, and the upgraded Companion of the Order of Australia she will receive on January 26.

Image: NuNa

Australia’s biggest homophobe fails to win The Frownlow Medal.

Former Rugby Union player Israel Folau has failed in his bid to win The Frownlow Medal, despite posting a homophobic message on social media which sparked a huge social controversy.

Folau claimed that homosexuals will go to Hell, in accordance with his conservative Christian views. The post cost Folau his multi-million dollar contract with Rugby Australia and divided opinion across the country.

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 and code-swapper Karmichael Hunt was the most recent recipient

The talented footballer was sacked because he had already been warned about a similar post some months earlier. He then engaged in a lengthy court battle with Rugby Australia and missed out on playing in the world cup where the Wallabies performed poorly.

The post set off one of the most controversial debates of the year, as politicians, talk back radio hosts, breakfast show presenters, Christians, the LGBTQI community and members of the public shared their views on the topic.

The enormous controversy, however, was still not enough to win Folau the biggest prize in Australian sport.

Why not?

Because 2019 was the most most competitive year in the history of The Frownlow Medal, with players being charged with sexual assault, violence against women, stabbing, drug and alcohol abuse and gambling on their own games. A misguided social media post was simply not enough this year.

The controversy also means that one of the most talented footballers of the modern era may never play League or Union again. He will never play AFL again, but is unlikely to be missed by fans of that sport.

He’ll be forced to watch football, and The Frownlow Medal, from the sidelines. At least his Frownlow failure will give his army of Christian soldiers something else to complain about.

Image: NuNa