NRL player Payne Haas has confirmed his status as a Friday Muslim via a drunken fight with teammate Albert Kelly.
Haas received a nomination for The Frownlow Medal as well as punishment from the NRL and demonstrated that his religious beliefs are flexible. Haas converted to Islam in 2019 and has since confirmed his status as a Friday Muslim with various off-field scandals which have earned him three Frownlow nominations.
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.
Friday Muslims adhere to the strict rules of their faith only on Fridays, which is the traditional Islamic day of prayer. On this one day of the week, they dress appropriately, abstain from alcohol and other vices and devote themselves to prayer, reflection and the Koran’s teachings of peace and tolerance.
During the rest of the week, Friday Muslims choose whether or not to abide by the rules of their religion. Haas chose to drink alcohol on the day he got into a fight with his Broncos teammate, and forgot about the teachings of peace, forgiveness and tolerance, eventually punching Kelly in the face.
His previous Frownlow nominations were earned for refusing to cooperate with a NRL Integrity Unit investigation. He was also suspended for three games, and fined $50,000, after pleading guilty to intimidating police in Tweed Heads in 2021, for which he was handed a two-year good behaviour bond by NSW Police.
Despite this, Haas declared in a newspaper article in 2020 that ‘Islam is everything.’ He said he understood his status as a role model to his younger siblings, and that he would avoid scandals as a result of converting to Islam. He also observed Ramadan during the NSW Origin camp of 2020. Two years later, he got so drunk recently that he punched his own teammate.
While committing all of these off-field scandals, he has been one of the most dominant props in the game, and one of the youngest, proving that he obviously plays better as a Friday Muslim.
Image: Matt Roberts