Josh Cavallo has called out homophobic abuse he received from soccer spectators while he played for Adelaide United against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.
The Adelaide A-League player came out as gay in October. He’s currently the only out gay player in a top-tier men’s soccer league in the world.
During the Saturday night match at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Cavallo took to the field as a substitute during the match.
But on Sunday the 22-year-old said he had “no words” to describe his disappointment after copping the abuse from spectators and online.
“I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night,” he wrote 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 apologise 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 colour your skin is or where you come from.”
Instagram ‘not doing enough’ to stop abuse
Josh Cavallo also took aim at Instagram and Twitter for not doing enough to stop “hateful and hurtful messages” on the platforms.
“To @instagram I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I’ve received,” he wrote.
“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.”
Cavallo then thanked those who had supported him, declaring “love will always win.”
“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.”
Josh Cavallo’s club Adelaide United and opponents Melbourne Victory condemn abuse
Adelaide United chief executive Nathan Kosmina said the club was outraged by the spectators’ behaviour.
“Adelaide United is proud to be an inclusive and diverse football club,” he said.
“To see one of our players subjected to homophobic abuse is disappointing and upsetting.
“Josh continues to show immense courage and we join him in calling out abuse, which has no place in society, and it will not be tolerated by our club.
“We will continue to work with the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) and Melbourne Victory to identify perpetrators and prosecute them accordingly.”
APL said the league would “issue sanctions to any people found to be involved”.
Melbourne Victory condemned the abuse and said they were working with the APL, AAMI Park and Adelaide on an investigation.
“Melbourne Victory sees football as a platform to unite fans no matter what background,” the club said.
“Spectators found to have breached these standards will be banned from future matches.”
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