Jacinda Barclay 'fighting demons none of us knew about'

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Pictured here, Jacinda Barclay in her AFLW and LFL gear.
Tributes have been pouring in for Jacinda Barclay after the 29-year-old's tragic death. Pic: Getty/Instagram

The Australian sporting community is still trying to come to terms with the tragic death of the multi-talented Jacinda Barclay.

The Australian baseball, AFLW and American football star's death at the age of 29 has sent shockwaves through Aussie sport.

SO SAD: Devastating scenes as Dean Jones farewelled at MCG

'BIGGEST REGRET': Devastating truth behind Dean Jones tragedy

WA police confirmed the devastating news that Barclay's body was found at a residence in Chidlow, east of Perth, on Monday afternoon.

Police and paramedics attended the scene but were unable to revive her.

The death is not being treated as suspicious and Barclay's family has asked for the media to respect their privacy.

Teammates of the popular star have left glowing tributes to Barclay in a sign of the effect she had on so many lives that she came into contact with.

"The news is devastating and our hearts are breaking,” Steph Mur - a former teammate of Barclay's at the Chicago Bliss in America's Legends Football League (LFL) - wrote.

"Jacinda lived a life that most people could only imagine. She was an elite multi-sport athlete constantly shredding boundaries around the world.

"She was every coach and players’ dream- a fearless leader full of positivity, vast knowledge, eagerness to grow and dedication to every team member. More importantly, she was an all-round badass person.

"I feel honoured to have played alongside you and more importantly to have known your beautiful energy and bubbly, comedic personality. Your brightness will never stop shining in our hearts. Rest easy Cinda!”

Jacinda Barclay is seen here during her AFLW playing days for GWS.
Jacinda Barclay's death has rocked Australian sport. Pic: Getty

Another former Bliss teammate Kayla Lee provided a tragic insight into her life and said the 29-year-old was "fighting demons none of us knew about".

“You never really know what someone is going through. This morning I woke up to the devastating news that we had lost one of the most vibrant, positive and spirited souls on this planet.

“Cinda has been one of my closest friends since we met 7 years ago training and playing in the LFL. She was my quarterback and always had my back. We trained hard, laughed hard and sometimes partied hard together.

“She was a naturally talented multi-sport athlete, who was driven, ambitious and a leader that was fighting demons none of us knew about. I am absolutely heartbroken and in complete shock.”

Barclay a driving force for societal change

Underpinning much of Barclay's life and her incredible sporting achievements was an inherent passion for justice and societal change.

Having played lingerie football in America during her LFL days, Barclay gained a deep appreciation of the cultural sensitivities and fight for racial equality that is so prominent in US society.

She was an advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement and posted a powerful symbol of support on Instagram earlier in the year.

View this post on Instagram

🖤

A post shared by Jacinda Barclay (@jacindabarclay) on

Closer to home, Barclay was also a keen supporter of Aboriginal rights and Indigenous affairs.

Her Instagram page is filled with images and articles promoting Indigenous causes such as the Mungo Youth Project, which is centred around schools teaching kids about Aboriginal heritage.

Barclay acknowledged and embraced the power of sport to drive social change in society - highlighting the Adam Goodes documentaries The Australian Dream and The Final Quarter - as crucial mediums to drive discussion around important issues of racism.

Barclay heralded the establishment of the AFLW competition when discussing her move from lingerie football.

She said it was a positive celebration of the sporting talent of women that didn’t have to rely on a "sex sells" element.

"Women’s sport doesn’t need to show off their bodies to be successful,” Barclay told The Daily Telegraph in 2017.

"What we need is support, nurturing and facilities, which is everything the AFL is offering.

"It’s the help female athletes need to bring their professional careers to fruition.

"The AFL are more directed at ability. That’s what they are showcasing. It doesn’t need to be sex sells."

She championed the cause of rival women's stars such as Tayla Harris, hitting out at the AFLW player's vile treatment from trolls after the image of her iconic kick went viral.

While her list of sporting accomplishments are immense, perhaps Barclay’s greatest achievement is the legacy she will leave on Australian sport.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.