Female Aussie rules player receives online abuse over photo

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — An Australian rules football player says she was subjected to “sexual abuse on social media” following publication of a picture of her kicking the ball during a match in the AFL Women’s league.

Tayla Harris on Wednesday said she was repulsed by some online comments regarding the photo, which was posted on Twitter by 7AFL, a Seven television network site, after Harris’ team Carlton beat the Western Bulldogs 6.5 (41) to 5.8 (38) on Sunday.

The photo was deleted by 7AFL after reports of abusive responses. But after complaints that the site was giving in to the online trolls, the photo was put back up on Twitter along with an apology for removing it initially.

“The comments I saw were sexual abuse, if you can call it that, because it was repulsive and it made me uncomfortable,” Harris told a Melbourne radio station. “That is what I would consider sexual abuse on social media.”

Harris called for the AFL and possibly police to take action.

“I don’t want to give oxygen to the trolls but … I saw the comments,” Harris said. “I know I shouldn’t read them but it’s hard not to … and I can see in people’s profile pictures that they have kids or they have got daughters, or there are women in their photos — and that is the stuff that I’m worried about.”

Some Australian media called for those who posted abusive tweets to be identified and banned from Australian Football League games.

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