Former NRL player Curtis Scott claims the pressure of being a multiple Frownlow nominee led him to abuse alcohol. His alcohol abuse and off-field behaviour recently caused the Canberra Raiders to terminate his contract, and have improved his chances of winning 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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.
Scott was recently quoted as saying:
“I’ve been to the lowest of the lows…you can’t get any lower. It was as dark as it gets…I’d had enough of feeling sh*t,”
“The reason I did drink was to try to escape the living hell. The pressure and the outside noise. I turned to alcohol to give myself a break and escape my problems.”
Experts believed he was referring to the pressure of being a professional footballer. The pressure of playing a game he loves for a living, the pressure of being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year at such a young age, and the pressure of being adored by fans all over the country, including beautiful young women.
However, Scott conceded that he suffered through the stress of being nominated for the highest honour in Australian sport on more than one occasion.
Scott did not play in the NRL from Round 12, 2021, after an incident at a Canberra nightclub saw him charged with assault. He was later sanctioned with a $15,000 fine and three-game ban. This follows an incident in 2020. On Australia Day that year he was found drunk and barely conscious at Moore Park in Sydney and had an altercation with police.
“People have no idea what it’s like to be a Frownlow nominee,” he said.
“The pressure is unbearable. Some of the best footballers in history have been nominated, and we have to live up to their reputation, which is why I abused alcohol so much. Plus, there’s the pressure of being a role model to young kids and the stress of thinking of an incident that’s so bad it wins the medal.”
“Once you get nominated, you feel pressure to get nominated the next year and the next. I mean, look at your Corey Normans, your Julian O’Neills, Brendan Fevolas and Ben Cousins’, all those legends, they just get nominated again and again, that’s what ya gotta live up to as a Frownlow nominee.”
“I even tried to get a patriotic nomination, that was my first one. I got drunk and did something stupid on Australia Day, how Aussie is that – but nah, it wasn’t enough to win the medal that year and I had to get in a pub fight this year to even be in the running for the medal.”
Scott also claimed that he moved from his native Sydney to Melbourne, then to Canberra, to escape distractions and factors that could get him into trouble off the field. He couldn’t, ultimately, escape the expectation that comes with being a Frownlow nominee.