I would choose Tayla Harris over sad men of the internet any day

Over the next few days I saw the image of Tayla’s kick posted on a number of social media pages. It’s a tremendous photo in and of itself but, when put in context of the incredible social change it will help usher in by giving so many young girls an idol to look up to, it becomes something even greater.

But, as we’ve seen time and time, again it seems impossible to have these photos without the influx of trolls.

That photo is inspirational; it shows the majesty of sport encapsulated in a single, brilliant frame.

Comments saying, “that’s not the kitchen” and “big stretch for a 20m shank” were mixed with predictable, yet still sickening (and unprintable), commentary on the female body.

These are the stock standard, incredibly unoriginal and unintelligible, catch cries of sad men who confide in the support of fellow sad men all over the Internet.

I remember a few weeks ago the same Instagram page at the heart of this incident posted a video of Tayla missing a kick from point blank range. I went on last night to re-read the comments. All to the same effect.


“This is women’s sport.”

“What more do you expect?”

Well, my friends, let me remind you of Round 16, 2013. Early in the first quarter a young B. Jack runs into an open goal square. It’s his fourth game – first time starting on the field – and 40,000 people at the SCG are screaming in anticipation of the certain goal. You beauty.

Shame I shanked it.

I hit the post from literally three metres away. Hell, I could make a list of AFL players who’ve done the same. So, to all those guys saying how terrible women’s sport is because of a miss like that: what do you say to me?

Sure I only played twenty-odd games. Probably averaged a handful of possessions and was known by most as Kieren’s younger brother … but I guarantee I’ve had a better AFL career than 99 per cent of you.

And, if I was picking a footy team, I guarantee I’d be picking Tayla Harris over you too.

These pages are aware of these comments. Such incidents continue to happen and the organisations whose pages there are continue to step back and allow it when there is a way to monitor them.

You can delete such comments manually; which, if you employ a social media manager, seems like something that would be included in their daily duties.

You can block the commenters without them knowing that their comments aren’t being seen by the rest of the world. Or you even immediately prevent comments with certain words from being posted.

This is a point where the AFL, and supporters can step in and say, ‘We support women, and if you don’t, we don’t want you near our game.’

With all of these options, 7AFL still somehow managed to make a mess of this. They deleted the photo. They gave in to the misogynistic, vile words of their commenters.

Their page had an opportunity to take a stand. To show the organisation running it supports respect for women and believes sportswomen deserve to have their accomplishments broadcast. And 7AFL did not do this. They made the wrong call, because the issue so clearly isn’t the photo.

That photo is inspirational; it shows the majesty of sport encapsulated in a single, brilliant frame.

The strength, the power, the flexibility, the skill and the timing. You’d be hard pressed to find another image that captures it all so well.

But, if you think deleting the photo will do anything, then what happens the next time you go to post a photo of a female athlete?

Do we continually make women invisible because we can’t speak up or stop the trolls who try and tear them down?

And with the bigger picture in mind, do we rely on monitoring comments, or do we draw a line in the sand and say something bigger has to change?


This was a great image. But now it’s going to become an iconic image.

It’s a point where the AFL, and its supporters, can step in and say, “We support women, and if you don’t, we don’t want you anywhere near our game.”

It is time everyone in the football family stands up and says these attitudes and comments don’t fly.

Go, Tayla. Go.

Brandon Jack is a former Sydney Swans player.

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