Australian Football League star Tayla Harris has hit out at vile Twitter trolls who spouted “sexual abuse” at her photograph online.
The photo showed Harris kicking a shot as part of her career as a professional AFL player.
Twitter trolls on the 7 Network AFL page unleashed a vile tirade of sexually abusive comments in response.
“The comments I saw were sexual abuse, if you can call it that, because it was repulsive and it made me uncomfortable,” Harris told RSN radio.
“That is what I would consider sexual abuse on social media,” she added.
Here’s what you need to know about Tayla Harris.
1. She Began Playing AFL at Just 5 Years Old
Harris has certainly launched a hugely successful career at AFL clubs including Carlton. However, her passion for the game began at just 5-years-old. Growing up in the Northern Suburbs of Brisbane, Harris began playing the competitive game for Aspley at five.
She played mixed competition games with boys and girls until 2010. Years later, she played senior football for Zillmere in the AFL Queensland Women’s League (QAWFL), where she won the league best and fairest award in her first season.
2. Harris is Also Known For Her Skills in The Ring
Alongside her successful AFL career on the footy pitch, Harris is also a force to reckoned with in the boxing ring. She is also a force to be reckoned with in the boxing ring. She has fought 27 rounds and won all but one of her bouts.
Despite her success, Harris has yet to settle on a “fight name” — opting instead for a symbol.
“You need to maybe earn one, just like a nickname at footy, you need to do something really before you get one … so I decided a symbol,” Harris said in a 2018 interview.
“I want the lightning bolt to be my symbol so … I got it tattooed on my head, behind my ear, so I’m committed,” she added.
3. However, She Avoids Ringside Trash Talk
Despite her skills inside the boxing ring, Harris has said that she avoids the traditional ‘trash-talk’ often associated with the competitive sport.
“I just can’t even do it in footy, on the field, I come up with the lamest trash-talk you will ever hear so it is best for everyone that I don’t,” Harris said in a 2018 interview with the Herald Sun.
“I’ve never been one for name-calling or starting any pre-fight (sledging),” she added.
4. AFL Sources Claim That Some of Those Who Abused Harris Are Fellow Footy Players
In a further twist, Australian outlet, The New Daily, found that many of those who abused Harris and other female AFL stars, were themselves AFL players.
“One comment on a spectacular action shot of Harris mid-kick referred to her genitals and came from the account of a former player from the Ringwood area who is now believed to be playing in a Yarra Ranges league in Melbourne’s east.”, according to the newspaper.
5. Harris Has Received An Outpouring Of Support Since Speaking Out
Harris’s comments made a splash in the Australian and international media with many joining the 21-year-old athlete in her condemnation.
Many took to the star’s Instagram page to express their solidarity.
One said: “Speaking as a sports fan, as a father of a young daughter, as a human being: Dedication to the game and 100% energy, this is what I want to see in all sports, this is what young players need for inspiration, this is where a player differs from a want to be player. One of the top athletic pictures ever! Haters will be sorry.”
Meanwhile, another added: “These weak ass keyboard warriors need to grow some balls. We need to embrace women in sport. We work bloody hard. Go @tayla_harris”
She later thanked those who posted their support for her plight in a Twitter post.
Meanwhile 7AFL, the broadcaster that originally posted and later deleted the photo also apologized for ‘sending the wrong message’ rather than tackling the internet trolls.