The openly gay footballer received abuse from the crowd when he was brought on as a substitute during Saturday’s match between Adelaide and Melbourne Victory.
Josh Cavallo – the only openly gay male top-flight footballer in the world – says he has ‘no words’ to describe his disappointment as he was subjected to homophobic abuse during a match on Saturday night.
Taking to social media, the footballer said: “I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night. 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.”
Included in the post, Josh appealed to Instagram to do more to protect LGBT+ users from online trolling on the service:
“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 truely 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 supporters: “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 🤍”
Both Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory condemned the homophobic behaviour from the crowd, saying they are working with the Australian Professional Leagues to identify and take action against those responsible.
A statement on Melbourne Victory website reads: “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”, adding that “Spectators found to have breached these standards will be banned from future matches”.
Meanwhile Adelaide United chief executive officer, Nathan Kosima, said in a separate statement that the team were “appalled by the verbal abuse Josh received by fans at AAMI Park”, adding “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.”