Josh Cavallo says ‘hate will never win’ as gay footballer is subjected to homophobic abuse

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A-League Mens Rd 5 - Western United FC  v Adelaide United

Joshua Cavallo was targeted by homophobes (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)

Josh Cavallo – the only openly gay male top-flight footballer in the world – says he has ‘no words’ to describe his disappointment at being targeted by homophobic abuse during a match against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

The Adelaide United midfielder was widely praised by the football world last October when he became the first professional player to come out as gay during his playing career.

However, clearly not all parts of society are ready to live in the 21st century, as Cavallo was subjected to homophobic abuse after coming on as a substitute in Adelaide’s clash against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

Taking to Twitter after the abuse, Cavallo says he has ‘no words’ to describe his anger at the situation.

‘I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night,” Cavallo wrote on Instagram.

‘There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was. 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 these people accountable. Hate never will win. I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.

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‘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 place for everyone no matter who you are, what colour your skin is or where you come from.

‘To Instagram 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 individusals that reached out after makinga stand at the game, I commend you. Thank you to those fans, you had me emotional, Love will always win.’

The Australian Professional League [AFL] is working with both clubs to investigate the incident.

They’ve promised to punish any individuals found to be involved with the chanting, which they described as ‘bullying’.

‘Our players, staff and fans have the right to feel safe on and off the pitch,” APL CEO Danny Townsend said.

“There is no place for bullying, harassment or abuse in Australian football and we have zero tolerance for this harmful behaviour.”

‘We fully support Josh Cavallo and want to ensure he can focus on his football performance, rather than on vile abuse. We will continue to concentrate our efforts on creating safe and welcoming A-Leagues for all.’


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