Racism in the AFL reared its ugly head again recently after Liam Ryan was subjected to abuse on an Instagram post on Channel 7â€™s official account. Letâ€™s not be blinded by this one instance, though. Itâ€™s been going on for a while now. Sexism and Misogyny have also been the subject of recent hate posts in the AFLW after Tayla Harris felt she was sexually abused by comments on social media. The picture in question was taken down but then reposted after the Seven Network wanted to celebrate womenâ€™s footy. Facebook has since taken steps to help tackle the problem.
What Has Facebook Promised to Do?
In the wake of the recent storm surrounding West Coastâ€™s Liam Ryan, Facebook has agreed to help the AFL identify internet trolls who quite frankly bombard players with hateful comments.
Darren Birch, the head of digital and audience growth for the AFL, said that Facebook will help them identify offensive posts via IP addresses and other means to catch the culprits. However, it will all depend on the information that is provided to Facebook by the AFL. The less information thatâ€™s passed on, the harder it is to identify a troll.
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Thereâ€™s also no real way for Facebook to alert the AFL to offensive posts, so a proactive approach will be needed going forward. The AFL will need to rely on the public making them aware of such posts so that they can be passed on to Facebook for investigation. Itâ€™s something which Birch has encouraged and will continue to do so to ensure the â€œminority of idiotsâ€ are dealt with. The AFL average around 70,000 social media interactions per week. “90% of these are positive,â€ Birch added.
West Coast Eagles â€“ Ignoring the Haters
Despite the issues off the field, West Coast has done their talking on the pitch. They disposed of the Giants last weekend, which saw them get their AFL season up and running. Itâ€™s bookiesâ€™ favourites Collingwood up next for West Coast, but they will head into this one full of confidence after winning the last three meetings with the Magpies.
The Eagles are 7.5 (13/2) to win the Grand Final this year, which is a pretty decent price when you consider they lost their opener. Theyâ€™ll be right there in the thick of things come the end of the season, but itâ€™s tough to choose between them, Geelong and Collingwood if theyâ€™re all on top of their game. Betfair AU is a good choice to place a bet if you fancy backing either West Coast or any other team you like the look of this year. Thereâ€™s some good value to be had in the Grand Final Winner market thatâ€™s for sure.
Fremantle Support West Coast
Theyâ€™re West Coastâ€™s cross-town AFL rivals, but Fremantle have thrown their full support behind Liam Ryan. Dockers coach Ross Lyon applauded the recent video released by West Coast which outlines why racist slurs are so offensive. “At the Fremantle Football Club, we are incredibly supportive and are calling out, as West Coast are, and we hope the rest of Australia are, the vitriol and the bile of the keyboard warriors. There is no place for that,” said Lyon.
“For me personally, watching that video, it was an educational piece, and I learnt more about the cultural understanding about the atrocities that occurred, and why the term monkey is so offensive.”
Itâ€™s crazy even to type this, but racism is still going on in many sports across the globe. It needs to stop. Itâ€™s 2019 for goodness sake. Not only racism but sexism too in relation to the Harris incident. Itâ€™s great to see Facebook being so vocal in their support for players in the AFL going forward, but we must all stay vigilant going forward and we must speak up if we see anything derogatory towards a player. Towards anything in all honesty. It canâ€™t be done alone, but if everyone comes together, the root cause can be stamped out eventually. Itâ€™s only the minority, but tougher consequences are needed if itâ€™s to be stamped out for good. Letâ€™s hope the Facebook help is the beginning of the end for racism and sexism on social media and in the AFL, and sport, in general.