Bailey Smith quits AFL.

Bailey Smith has shocked Australia with news that he will quit the AFL to deal with mental health issues following his latest off-field scandal.

Smith was recently punished for appearing in a social media post holding a bag of white powder, and he raised mental health battles when discussing the incident with the media. He has since quit the sport entirely to start a new career.

“I will step aside from the AFL immediately,” Smith announced through a prepared statement.

“I have made this difficult decision for reasons of mental health. My battles with mental health have been well documented, even after my latest off-field scandal and subsequent nomination for The Fronwlow Medal.”

His next career move was as big a shock as his decision to leave the sport.

“I will spend six months of the year as a school teacher and the next six months as a nurse, so that I can gain a more accurate understanding of mental health struggles,” the Western Bulldogs star explained.

“I will teach secondary students, most likely as a PD/H/PE teacher, for the remainder of this year. I chose teaching because I want to learn exactly what mental health struggles look like. I want to experience the constant drain of secondary school teaching in underfunded schools where teachers are overworked and underpaid and constantly under attack from parents and students. I want to understand the mental health strain on people who are vital to the nation but are completely undervalued and often criticised by Australian society, in contrast to footballers who are adored for simply playing a game they love.”

“On a personal note, I want to feel what it’s like to be ignored, teased, criticised or even physically attacked by teenagers, including some who’ll become professional footballers in a few years time. If you’d heard the stories the boys tell in the locker room about their school days, you’d know what I mean.”

Australians were just as shocked to learn that a person with no teaching experience or qualifications could simply walk into a full-time teaching position, but such is the shortage of teachers in Australia – created largely through the mental health strain placed on teachers.

After teaching for six months, Smith then plans to work as a nurse.

“I will work as a nurse for similar reasons,” he outlined.

“I want to truly understand the mental health strain of working an extremely stressful and underpaid job which was made a lot worse during the pandemic, and was bad enough before COVID-19.”

“I want to live through the emotional and psychological strain of caring for sick, injured, scared, smelly, dirty, abused, unstable, violent, dying people on a daily basis without proper remuneration or even adequate personal protection equipment.”

“I also want to be on the other side when a professional footballer abuses drugs or alcohol and has to be saved from themselves.”

Bailey then explained exactly why he had chosen these two careers above any other.

“Above all, I want to know what it’s like to be given gratitude instead of a reasonable wage.”

The nursing and teaching jobs will keep Smith out of the AFL until June 2023. Will the social media darling be back in the AFL, and back into contention for The Fronwlow Medal?

Only time will tell. Or maybe he will be back on the field once he reviews his bank balance.

Image: AAP, James Ross

Dayne Beams receives a boost to his mental health.

Former AFL player Dayne Beams is feeling much better about himself since receiving a nomination for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame for a public spat with a venue manager while organising his wife’s birthday party.

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.

Beams began arguing with a staff member of a venue in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, and the conflict spilled over into the venue’s website, his social media accounts and the mainstream media. The Collingwood premiership player complained that the stress of organising his wife’s 30th birthday, and the conflict with the staff member, had taken a toll on his mental health.

Beams claims he had difficulty with the staff member while trying to finalise the details of the party. The conflict prompted him to write a negative message on the venue’s website, and to threaten the venue with bad publicity across his popular social media accounts. The staff member then contact Melbourne radio station 3AW in response to the negative feedback, and claims Beams threatened to use his AFL status to harm the business.

Beams was quoted as posting:

“My mental health and confidence around organising this has taken a hit because of it and I think Shelley (staff member) should be ashamed. I will be recommending to everyone through my social media platforms and word of mouth to stay clear of Elina (sic) estate and Shelley. Really disappointing.”

One has to wonder how someone who suffers a mental health breakdown while trying to organise a birthday party ever managed to win an AFL premiership.

Fortunately for Beams, he has been invited to the awards ceremony for The Frownlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame later this year, where he doesn’t have to organise a thing. What’s more, he’ll be surrounded by other wayward footballers who can empathise with his struggles and give him a shoulder to cry on.

Image: NuNa