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Since he came out as gay last October, Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo, 22, has received a huge amount of support. However, he’s also experienced homophobia, both online and from spectators during matches.
Yesterday, he said the homophobia he experienced during a match on Saturday night was impossible to ignore.
Cavallo plays for Adelaide United. His team drew 1-1 against Melbourne Victory on Saturday at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
“I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night,” Cavallo said on Instagram. “There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was.
“As a society it shows we still face these problems in 2022. This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold these people accountable. Hate never will win. I will never apologize for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.
“To all the young people who have received homophobic abuse, hold your heads up high and keep chasing your dreams. Know that there is no place in the game for this. Football is a game for everyone no matter of who you are, what color your skin is or where you come from.”
— Josh Cavallo (@JoshuaCavallo) January 9, 2022
He went on to call on social media platforms to do more to protect people from harassment.
“To the social media networks, @instagram and @twitter, I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I’ve received. I knew truly being who I am that I was going to come across this. It’s a sad reality that your platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.
“Thank you to all the positive messages, love and support, seeing that far outweighs the negativity. To the individuals that reached out after making a stand at the game. I commend you. Thank you to those fans, you had me emotional.
“Love will always win.”
On Saturday night, Cavallo was substituted out after colliding with another player. While he walked off the pitch, a group of fans in one stand hurled homophobic abuse at him. They also allegedly sang, “if you want to stay alive, go home gypsy.”
Talking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Adelaide chief executive Nathan Kosmina praised Cavallo for how he had handled media attention and social media abuse since coming out. However, he added “I think where this [incident] went a little too far was the quantum of it. It wasn’t an individual. It was more of a collective voice coming out of that northern stand and he said, basically, ‘Enough’s enough. I’m calling this out’. And we say, ‘We’re right behind you, Josh.’”
Melbourne Victory, which hosted the game, issued a statement following the match.
“Melbourne Victory has been made aware of homophobic comments directed towards Adelaide United player, Josh Cavallo during Saturday night’s clash with the Reds at AAMI Park.
“The Club is committed to celebrating diversity in football, and strongly condemns this behavior which has no place at our Club or in our game.
“Melbourne Victory sees football as a platform to unite fans no matter what background. Spectators found to have breached these standards will be banned from future matches.
“The Club is working with the League, Stadium and Adelaide United to investigate the matter further.”
CCTV cameras at the stadium are being checked to try and identify the perpetrators.