Seven eventually apologised for having “sent the wrong message” and put it back up, but the controversy has inadvertently turned the picture into a symbol of deep significance for AFLW and women’s sport more generally.
Dozens of Twitter users on Wednesday suggested it should become the new logo of AFLW, in the same way a silhouette of Jerry West is used in the NBA’s logo.
Livingstone has seen some of the mock-ups doing the rounds and while she admires the creativity of those behind them, a change of logo does not appear to be on the cards. But that doesn’t mean the photo won’t be everywhere, particularly with Harris’ Carlton still in AFLW premiership contention.
“We’re pretty bedded in and invested in our logo. However, I know this photo is going to become an iconic part of AFLW history,” Livingstone said.
“I’m sure we will consider how we utilise it in the future … or even sooner than that. If they make it through to the grand final, we have a series of images that we could end up using.
“The image is something I think represents everything we try to encapsulate about AFLW – women having the opportunity to do something they haven’t had before, and to see the athletic ability of our players, not necessarily the gender.
“It’s obviously playing a pivotal role in marketing just by people re-posting it. Let’s see if we can improve the position of female athletes through something that hasn’t been exactly comfortable.
“I hope it is a turning point for AFLW, in terms of respecting women and female athletes.”
Harris admitted she was chuffed with the photo itself. “It’s pretty cool. That’s how I kick,” she told media in Melbourne on Wednesday. “I feel like this image … obviously it’s going to be used to promote AFLW, that’s cool, and that’s awesome. I’m happy that it’s me and I’m happy that it’s going to give AFLW exposure.”
But Harris said some of the comments made about her left her feeling genuinely uncomfortable in her workplace and compelled her to take a strong public stance.
“It’s behind a screen, I know, but you’ve got to question if that’s going to be something more,” she said.
“It’s referring to my body – not what I was doing, which was playing footy. It was obviously quite graphic … repulsive things.
“Comments about football or whether I did a poor kick – whatever. This is a whole different area. This isn’t about me anymore, it’s about broader society stuff.
“I could push this aside and I have the ability to do because it has not affected me personally, but I have decided this is a platform (where) I can help other people. If I’m not going to say anything, what about the people who don’t have a platform for themselves?”
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.