This week’s award for ‘television network that has consistently missed the mark’ goes to Channel Seven.
Their week began with a Sunday Night exposé into NRL culture.
Many would have tuned in interested in details about the most recent off-field scandals, however Sunday Night instead focused on claims made against former player Bodene Thompson.
While not trying to trivialise any of these claims, this issue is a couple of years old. This episode came across as a lame attempt to take a cheap shot at the NRL while also including interviews with women who have been involved with players from other codes.
Following the devastating events in Christchurch last week, Seven decided to continue to give Pauline Hanson airtime on Sunrise – a woman who has shared anti-Islamic rhetoric and at one point wanted to introduce a motion in Parliament called ‘It’s okay to be white’.
Then, Seven (via their 7AFL accounts) shared an image on Twitter and Facebook of Tayla Harris, who plays for Carlton in the AFLW.
In the stunning photograph, Harris is airborne after she has kicked the ball, displaying her tremendous athleticism.
It immediately calls to mind how skilled she is, but also about how strong and how confident. The pic encapsulates what is worth celebrating about sport.
Unfortunately, a barrage of filthy, derogatory and sexist comments ensued, leading Seven to remove the photo and comments.
Seven made the wrong decision. Another solution would have been to delete or hide the comments.
By removing the photo, the power is given back to the trolls.
By removing that photo, we are back in a world where women in sport are invisible.
This was an opportunity for Seven to make a clear statement that derogatory and sexist comments have no place in sport, particularly given that the network professes to be such strong supporters of women in sport through their coverage of the AFLW and the WBBL. But they did not have the courage to do that.
I’m always told that people that make these sorts of comments are the minority. But is that really the case? The derogatory comments just kept coming and several of them had hundreds of likes. It takes a deeply insecure, pathetic human being to make such comments. It also seeks to drive home a message that women are not welcome in sport and are simply objects for men to make comments about.