Brunel Netball Club has experienced a backlash of anonymous sexist abuse after winning Club of the Year at the 2015 Sports Federation Awards.
Yik Yak users took to the anonymous microblogging app to complain about the choice of Brunel Netball as Club of the Year. Yik Yak allows users to post completely anonymously and receive ‘upvotes’ or ‘downvotes’. Posts are only visible for a short time and within a small geographical area. The app has been popular at Brunel since developers chose the campus to be the first British University to receive access after huge popularity at American universities.
Now users have used the app to anonymously blast the Netball Club, calling team members ‘sluts’. One Yak read: “Netball trials starter pack: look average, blow job skills, sluts.” Another user commented “Chlamydia optional but preferred.”
The Netball Club is one of the few clubs on campus which is all-female.
Other users pointed out that a member of the Sports Federation Committee, who decided on the winners of the awards, is romantically linked to a Netball player. The Sports Federation Committee is an elected team of students headed up by the Sports Federation Chair and VPSA. Current members include members of Athletics, Netball, Hockey, Dance, Cheerleading, Rowing and Basketball Clubs. Michael Darlow is the Union’s current Sports Federation Chair, Basketball first team Captain and next year’s VPSA.
The criticism of the awards decisions was, by an overwhelming majority, sexist and misogynist comments directed at Netball. The criteria for the award includes “opportunities for members, performance, value for money, engagement with RAG and the Union and volunteering, community engagement, inclusiveness”
There were some comments of support for Netball on Yik Yak. One user posted “The slut shaming of the Netball Team is really not a legitimate reason to believe they didn’t deserve to win last night.” Another pointed out that Sportswoman of the Year winner Georgia Lees “represented her country in her chosen sport and currently plays at the highest domestic level possible in the country… I think she’s a deserved winner”. Hannah Jones, current VPSA also commented: “Georgia being Michael’s girlfriend had nothing to do with her winning Sportswoman [of the Year]. She was sent out of the room when making that decision and she fully deserved it.”
She added: “Athletics didn't win Club of the Year because their engagement with the Union, RAG and Volunteering was not on par with Netball. Hockey did not win because of their performance and the rest didn't win because when comparing them to Netball - Netball had done so much more!
“Those Yik Yaks are awful. I don't think we should bring attention to them. It's a horrible app. Yes there is a problem with slut shaming. It's disgusting that people think that of Netball when they fully deserve that win.”
Sports Federation Chair Michael Darlow declined to comment on the Yik Yak posts when contacted by Le Nurb.