The controversy surrounding the disgusting treatment of Tayla Harris has made headlines around the world.
On Wednesday, the story had been picked up by publications in America, Canada and the UK.
The New York Post’s website featured the story on its home page, with the headline ‘The story behind the sports photo that has rocked an entire country’.
On Thursday morning, it was the most-read story on the site.
The story was also featured by the Irish Times and the Evening Standard in the UK.
“This isn’t about these athletes not being able to handle criticism. It is not about the right to voice opinions about the game,” wrote Kasey Symons in the Irish Times.
“These comments are not criticism. They are not about the game. They are misogynist, targeted attacks that strip the power from these athletes who put their bodies on the line to play the game they love.
“Their bodies are then reduced to abhorrent and unmoderated comments of people whose power is elevated when they cause change in this way.”
Harris hopes stand will spark change
It would have been easier for Tayla Harris to ignore the vile online responses to the picture of her kicking for goal, but she didn’t.
And she hopes her stand will be the catalyst for change.
“If I can stand up here and say something about it and start the conversation … if that helps one person or heaps of people then that’s what I want to do,” Harris said at Ikon Park on Wednesday.
“I’m fine with people commenting on and critiquing my football, I understand that is the football beast, but it’s the comments that are severely inappropriate, comments that my family will read.
“… The support that has come from this has been phenomenal.
“I think that has shut down anyone who would have made a comment … I hope they’d be thinking ‘I’ve mucked up here’ and hopefully they won’t do it again.
“That’s all you can really ask.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Harris described the comments as “sexual abuse” in an interview on RSN.
Federal Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer said she was “disgusted” by the trolling.
“We need to out these trolls. We need to out these people who would seek to make misogynist comments about women,” O’Dwyer told reporters in Melbourne.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the problem wasn’t just an issue for Seven, a broadcast partner of the AFL, or the football code.
“It’s more a challenge with the platform, social media, because this is not an isolated incident,” McLachlan told reporters in Sydney.
“But when it’s unacceptable commentary, more and more people are calling that out and that is what has happened here.”