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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.
Related: Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo comes out as gay
“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.’”
Related: “About damn time.” Pro baseball player Bryan Ruby comes out as gay.
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.
Congratulations to him for being brave and setting an example!
Time for one of the troll screenames to come in here and try to attack this guy, calling him a whiner. The way it always does whenever any LGBTQ person is the victim of bigotry.
That was a threat. Those Neanderthals needed to be thrown out. It’s funny that soccer seems to attract these shitheads more then any other sport.
He’s a kind of Jackie Robinson of his day and place and should be supported as much as possible by the gay community. Through pressure, the league will enforce its rules and deal with violating bigots (fans) effectively – umpires should suspend the games while perpetrators are ejected.
He is not the “Jackie Robinson” of his day. Don’t co-opt racial civil rights to gay civil rights. That being said, yes, those neanderthal fans should be expelled from the stadium.
You don’t stand alone, Josh. You have a global queer community behind you and with you, standing shoulder to shoulder. They need to learn that no amount of name calling and bullying will ever dim our lights that shine with every colour. Love ultimately wins, even in the darkest nights. I hope an army of queer and queer-allies in football step forward to metaphorically kick this kind of hate out of all sports. Enough is enough.
They should have sent everyone in the north stand packing with no refund.
Josh shouldn’t have to call this out himself. The clubs should be in front of, not behind, him.
NO, the officials should have followed the example of a game, I believe late last year, where they ended the game early with the “attacked” team ahead and declared the winner and the offending team forced to forfeit their next game or two. I’m sure other’s here who actually keep up with soccer can correct my bad memory, but I hope you get my point. It’s beyond obvious that soccer has a real issue with “fans” not being decent people and believing homophobia is acceptable and those in charge need to step up big and make it clear that either this type of behavior will end or the game will. I’m certain there’s enough decent fans who will quickly grow tired of paying for tickets to games that are called off and they will hopefully “persuade” offending fans into behaving.
@Openminded : Where does it say that it was the team that was offensive to him? It was their fans, and while there are things that the team could do to try to rein in their fans, they can only be partially effective. I’ve seen other comments on this thread that provide suggestions on what could be done about this, so I won’t go into them myself, but it is obvious that things like this are happening globally, not just in Australia, in almost all sports, so everyone needs to work together.
I feel sorry for him since the idiots will alway be homophobic. Soccer/football always tries but too often they can’t stop the fans. Case in point is Mexico gets nailed quite regularly. But the FIFA made a grave mistake with having the World Cup in one of the most homophobic country of the World-Qatar.
we stand with you all the way. Much respect to you.
…and the mexican “fans” are all putos anyway.
As an Australian, I am ashamed of the toxic masculinity that finds it’s voice in male sport. And from men and women who probably have little or no sports prowess themselves but feel they are free to denigrate professional sportsmen who put in the hard yards and commitment in order to entertain these morons.
Despite the marriage equality laws being passed here, there is still a section of our society who are unable to show respect for anyone that is different and it is not only gender, but religion and race. Workplace laws are in place to protect many but they cannot protect against casual discrimination outside of work.
I urge the male sporting codes to name, shame and fine these people so that others will think twice before joining in this shameful abuse. Discrimination is against the law in Australia.
I wish Josh well, this should not be happening. The clubs must be more pro-active in getting all members to sign pledges of non-discriminative behaviour. More signage in locker rooms, club foyers and at stadiums outlining the penalties for this behaviour. The carrot has gone limp, we need a big stick now to get rid of this behaviour.
Being an “Armchair quarterback” seems to be something that has been going on practically since sports were invented. I doubt if it will ever be completely eradicated globally.