Openly gay soccer player Josh Cavallo has called out homophobic abuse directed at him during a match on Sunday.
The Adelaide United defender reportedly came on as a substitute 54 minutes into his team’s away game against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park when he received verbal abuse from members of the crowd and online, according to the AAP via SBS News.
It’s unclear what exactly was said towards him however Pride Football Australia spotted a number of homophobic comments about Cavallo as a queer football player in the male change rooms, which they allegedly found under a recent TikTok video by Mo Toure.
In a statement shared on Instagram, the Adelaide United player said “there are no words to tell you how disappointed I was”.
“I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night,” Cavallo wrote.
“As a society, this shows we still face these problems in 2022. This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold this (sic) people accountable. Hate never will win.”
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Josh Cavallo came out as gay in October and become the first openly queer male player in the A-League. He added that alongside the abuse in the crowd, he’s also received “hateful and hurtful messages” over Instagram and called on the platform to do a better job monitoring hate speech.
“I knew truly being who I am that I was going to come across this,” he said.
“It’s a sad reality that your platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”
He added that some fans reached out to him following the comments.
So disappointing (yet not surprising) reading about the abuse directed towards Josh Cavallo yesterday
— J.MES (@JamesK_1312) January 9, 2022
even if josh cavallo hadn’t noticed the homophobic abuse in the stands, what about all the potentially lgbtq+ fans in the stands that have to hear that? i am all for promoting active support and the victory fans have been absolutely instrumental in that but still
— j.ck ???????? (@bigbigsound_) January 9, 2022
To the small amount of idiots who chanted unnecessary hatred/vitriol towards Josh Cavallo, seriously pull your heads in. Not needed at all in life, and you’re not impressing anyone. Just coming across as proper clowns.
— Jon (@JonDT96) January 9, 2022
Representatives for Melbourne Victory said they were conducting an investigation into the incident. Any spectator who is found to have breached these standards will be banned from attending future matches.
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 (@gomvfc) January 9, 2022
In a statement on the Adelaide United website, the club’s chief executive Nathan Kosmina stood up for their player and condemned the verbal abuse he received during the game.
“Adelaide United is proud to be an inclusive and diverse football club, and to see one of our players subjected to homophobic abuse is disappointing and upsetting,” he said.
“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 and Melbourne Victory to identify perpetrators and prosecute them accordingly.”
Football Australia has also condemned the treatment, writing on Twitter: “As one of the most diverse and inclusive sports in Australia, we must all work together to stamp out homophobia and abuse, and ensure football is a safe space for everyone”.
It’s really disheartening to see that in our lord and saviour 2022, queer sporting stars are still being met with homophobic slurs – especially when we’re seeing more LGBTQIA+ sporting personalities in the public eye.
This bears repeating but TL;DR: leave my boy Josh alone! Treat queer players the exact same way you’d treat straight and cisgendered ones!
Back in November, Josh Cavallo obliterated a transphobic queer group, as if we couldn’t love him enough.Image: Getty Images [Jonathan DiMaggio] / Instagram [@joshcavallo]