Co-host of Marngrook Footy Show, Shelley Ware, took an emotive stand against cyber-bullies who troll AFL stars during Thursday’s episode, branding the recent online racist and homophobic attack on Essendon's Courtenay Dempsey as "disgraceful" and "disgusting".
The NITV star reaffirmed the show’s continued support for their Aboriginal "brother", as Dempsey continues his personal battle to condemn the social ill and call out his Instagram attackers.
The abusive comments on the Waluwarra defender's Instagram account were posted over the weekend, after fans hit out at Demps for his dangerous tackle on Richmond's Brett Deledio on Saturday night.
"People have had enough of these 'keyboard warriors'. It needs to stop"
"The words put on his account were absolutely disgraceful, quite disgusting," Ms Ware said in an address on the incident on the show.
"People need to stop and think about what they write on [people’s] social media accounts because, as Courtenay said, players are humans and have feelings. And the pain of the comment can last a lot longer after they are deleted.
"It stays with you heart and soul."
The attack on Dempsey follows the recent ‘booing’ of footy star and 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes.
"It stays with you heart and soul"
Ms Ware predicted that it might be only a matter of time before cyber-bullying cases became criminal matters. "I don’t think it will be long before a landmark case involving social media and cyber-bulling," she said.
"People have had enough of these 'keyboard warriors'. It needs to stop."
"Good on you Courtenay for taking a stand. We’ll stand with you brother."
Ms Ware's strong on-air address followed a National Indigenous Radio Service (NIRS) interview with Dempsey earlier this week, where the footy player spoke out about the social media attack.
The Waluwarra defender told NIRS that feedback about his sporting tactics are welcomed but kind of abuse aimed at race, sexuality or mental health is unwarranted.
"He not only racially abused me in the comment, he also wrote about somebody’s mental stability telling me to kill myself," Mr Dempsey told NIRS, explaining why he called out the bad social media behaviour.
Dempsey said the social media taunting "does play hard on my mind", purely because "I have to worry about my future career, I have to worry about my family. And also with my mother and grandmother ringing me up after seeing the comment themselves, crying, feeling disheartened as well".
"It not only affects me, it affects all my family around me. It’s not easy."