Eoghan O'Byrne listened to the stories of abuse. The racial slurs. The attacks on families. The social media barrages.
"The stories they had to tell, they're not worth repeating," the Gungahlin Eagles president said.
It fuelled the desire to call out abuse and bad behaviour in a bid to make a difference. It validated Gungahlin's push to launch a respect campaign.
A video posted on the Eagles' Facebook page featuring players and officials from a range of sporting codes calling for a halt to abuse on and off the field has attracted more than 7000 views.
Among them were ACT Brumbies Tom Ross and Mack Hansen, Canberra Raiders Emre Guler and Harley Smith-Shields, Canberra Capitals star Marianna Tolo and a raft of Eagles.
"This isn't a question of if we should change," Eagles and Brumbies back Hansen said before Canberra United young gun Rachael Goldstein picked up the script.
"We have to change."
O'Byrne says the club-driven campaign has been brewing for years. The Eagles boss says work has been done to clean up the club's own backyard, and now they want to lead the way for other teams and codes.
Yet the issue goes far beyond local rugby. Sit for 47 seconds and you'll see elite level footballers, cricketers, soccer players, and coaches. You'll see junior basketballers and footballers.
Because when word spread about the Eagles' campaign, an overwhelming number of officials and players around the capital jumped at the chance to be involved.
"They were excited about it but there was also that little bit of sadness. Some of the people that featured in it have been victims of abuse," O'Byrne said.
"It's hard to believe we're in 2021, and it still goes on. I personally witnessed disrespect towards females in a game, racist slurs.
"People may be perceived to have a bit of superstar status so people think it's appropriate to actually hurl verbal abuse about their families, or whatever it might be.
"I'm getting quite personal with my commentary here, but I think it has to be called out. Gone are the days where we can just turn a blind eye."
Which is why the Eagles will wear the logo for their respect campaign on playing uniforms during the John I Dent Cup season, which begins against the Western District Lions on April 17.
If they had the budget they'd be "painting it on billboard posters" too.
But for now O'Byrne wants everyone who walks through the front gates on game day to do their part, because he has lived in Canberra since 1998 and so little seems to have changed.
Even today sports can launch reviews into reports of abuse at games, go through an entire judicial process and come up with nothing. No sanctions. Nothing to see here.
So O'Byrne wants to capture the attention of the ACT government in the hope they encourage more clubs to adopt the mantra of "respect" and show kids watching their role models what is acceptable and what is not.
"We've just had enough. This was the only way we could have a say. It was the only way we could actually get our point across," O'Byrne said.
It's unfortunate we've had to pull the scab off what is a deep, deep wound in our society, but this is the only way we could do it.Gungahlin Eagles president Eoghan O'Byrne
"It's unfortunate we've had to pull the scab off what is a deep, deep wound in our society, but this is the only way we could do it.
"We want to get to a point where respect is enough to say to a spectator or a fellow player who may be feeling so inclined to say the wrong thing.
"You don't have to say 'hey mate, be quiet', just say 'respect', and people know exactly what you're talking about. That's where we're heading with it.
"We think we're only touching the surface with this at the moment."