Last week Carlton AFLW player Tayla Harris was subjected to sexually violent, transphobic and misogynistic comments on social media, in response to a spectacular photo of her kicking for goal. In a failure of digital management by Channel Seven (the league’s free-to-air broadcaster) the post was deleted off social media entirely, and by doing so the station played into the hands of the abusers.
The 21-year-old Harris showed remarkable grace in handling the pressure she was placed under. In a press conference, Harris labelled the comments "severely inappropriate". She said these were "comments that my family will read and feel concerned for my safety". On radio, Harris took the issue further. She pointed to the profile pictures of those who had posted sexually abusive and misogynistic comments, many of whom had children or women in their photos. "That is the stuff I’m worried about," Harris said, pointing towards links between abusive language and domestic and family abuse. In doing so, she created what seasoned AFLW commentator Sam Lane described as "another moment where AFL Women’s has stepped us forward as a code".