Collingwood Football Club once told AFL players of colour that they should act like white people if they wanted to be accepted in the sport and in Australian society.
Collingwood was accused of racism in 1993 when its fans racially abused St Kilda player Nicky Winmar during a game. In response, former club president, the late Allan McAlister, said of indigenous players,
”As long as they conduct themselves like white people, well, off the field, everyone will admire and respect … As long as they conduct themselves like human beings, they will be all right. That’s the key.”
But which white people should they emulate?
The following list includes the names of 22 white players or coaches from the Magpies, as well as the actions which make them perfect role models:
Racially abused indigenous player Michael Long during a game against St Kilda in 1995.
Refused to change the way he pronounced the name of player Orazio Fantasia while commentating for Channel 7, arguing that;
“We don’t pronounce Italian names in the full Italian way. We pronounce it with the Australianism in it, and that’s how we’ll continue to do it.”
This, despite the fact that Fantasia himself asked Taylor to pronounce his name differently.
Heath Shaw (Rat Pack 1)
Crashed into a parked car while driving drunk and then lied about the incident to the media. Suspended from AFL for gambling on matches, and detained by police for drunken behaviour in public.
Chris Tarrant (Rat Pack 2)
Allegedly punched ALP politician Damien Hale after the politician confronted Tarrant about his behaviour in a Darwin nightclub in 2007. Tarrant had apparently showed his backside to a woman at the club. Fined $5000 and handed a three-match suspension. Fined $5000 by the Magpies in 2006 for breaking the players’ code of conduct after a fight at a nightclub in Port Melbourne.
Ben Johnson (Rat Pack 3)
Charged with recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault after he tangled with teammate Chris Tarrant during a drunken brawl outside a Melbourne hotel in 2006.
Alan Didak (Rat Pack 4)
Proven links to criminals. Lied about his involvement in the Heath Shaw drink driving incident. Linked to the Melbourne CBD shooter, and the subject of an expose in a book by his ex-girlfriend Cassie Lane.
Dane Swan (Rat Pack 5)
Sent naked selfies to an unknown woman. Selfies were published in a women’s magazine. Broke a club-imposed booze ban. Scuffled with a security guard in Federation Square. Admitted to illicit drug use…after retiring from football…while trying to promote a book. Caught drink driving. His Humpday podcast was axed after he and Scott Cummings made jokes about issues of sexual assault and mistreatment of women.
Sent naked selfies to an unknown woman. Selfies were published in a women’s magazine.
Nathan Buckley (coach) and Brent Sanderson (assistant coach)
Buckley and Sanderson played a seemingly innocent game of tennis which was in breach of the AFL’s COVID-19 bio-security protocols in 2020, and the Collingwood coaches were served a $25,000 fine and forced to self-isolate for 24 hours.
Jordan de Goey
Blamed his dog.
Injured his hand during a late-night incident at a nightclub. Lied to his club, said he hurt his hand while playing with his dog. Made coach Nathan Buckley front the media and repeat the lie. Claimed alcohol was not a factor. Banned for 3 games, fined $5000, ordered to do community service. Arrested for drink driving, fined $10000 and suspended. Accused of assaulting a woman in 2015.
Lachie Keefe and Josh Thomas
Banned from AFL for use of performance enhancing drugs and illicit substances.
One of the Frownlow urinators.
Arrested for urinating into a rubbish bin in North Melbourne in 2017 after enjoying himself too much at Derby Day.
His Humpday podcast was axed after he and Dane Swan made jokes about issues of sexual assault and mistreatment of women. The controversy also cost Cummings his role as AFL commentator on radio station 3AW.
Involved in a brawl which left one man unconscious at the Mulwala Ski Club near Yarrawonga. Formally charged with common assault, assault occasioning bodily harm and violent disorder. Given a two-year good behaviour bond without conviction. Also avoided conviction for an assault charge in 2005.
Steele Sidebottom and Lynden Dunn
Sidebottom and Dunn breached COVID-19 protocols after sharing an Uber and visiting the home of a Collingwood Magpies staff member in 2020. Sidebottom was seen near the staff member’s house the next morning and had to be driven home by police.
Banned for 10 matches after it was discovered he had bet on AFL games. Missed the remainder of the home and away season. Apparently bet on three games in which he was playing, and was also fined $20,000.
Charged with drink driving, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident in 2004 after failing to stop at a random breath test.
Fractured the eye socket of a man and left him with 10 shattered facial bones during a fight at a pub in country Victoria in 2009. Fined $3500.
Banned from AFL for 18 months for testing positive to cocaine. Claims he didn’t intentionally touch the cocaine.
These fine young men of Collingwood FC have all been nominated for The Frownlow Medal or The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame. Scotland was inducted into the hall of fame in 2020.
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.
These are the men indigenous players should aim to be like.