Kieran Donaghy has condemned the behaviour of online 'trolls', calling for the availability of greater education for the sportspeople forced to contend with abuse regularly.
Making his regular appearance on Off the Ball's Shot Clock during Thursday's OTB AM, the former Kerry footballer shared his thoughts on the fiasco surrounding AFL star Tayla Harris, and a photograph of the Carlton player in action.
"Us as men and people in general have to start calling out these people," Donaghy stated in light of the visceral, disturbing comments that followed the publication of Harris' image on the AFL's official Twitter account.
"I've two daughters and if they're going to go on and play football or basketball or any code, and the relative body is going to put up a picture of them in action, if these dickheads are going to come in with this kind of stuff it's reckless."
After initially opting to remove the photography, the AFL republished the image shortly thereafter with an apology for their hastiness in succumbing to those who had left vile comments.
We're sorry. Removing the photo sent the wrong message.
Many of the comments made on the post were reprehensible & we'll work harder to ban trolls from our pages.
Our intention was to highlight @taylaharriss incredible athleticism & we'll continue to celebrate women's footy. pic.twitter.com/p24Ll08LRC
— 7AFL (@7AFL) March 19, 2019
A sporting figure in the public eye well-acquainted with online abuse himself, Kieran Donaghy urged people to get "that bit harder on these trolls."
"We have inter-county players, soccer players and they're being bullied online on a regular basis," commented Donaghy.
"We as adults stand for it in Whatsapp groups, on Twitter, on social media, and sort of say, 'will we bother dealing with this?'"
Revealing an interaction he had had with All-Ireland winning Cork captain Anna Geary, Donaghy explained how he had attempted to divert Geary's attention away from reprehensible online criticism after she appeared on RTÉ's 'Dancing with the Stars.'
"I spoke to Anna and she said when she was doing the Dancing there was vile stuff coming in to her," Donaghy explained, "and she was trying not to read it but some of it was hard to deal with"
"I said to her, 'Anna, you know these people have done nothing ever, they're absolute fools.'"
Crucially, while it may take a substantially long period of time to change the behaviour of such "fools" online, Kieran Donaghy stressed the importance of providing greater education for those sports stars who are likely to have to contend with it on a regular basis.