Australian footballer Josh Cavallo shared his truth in a recent social media post, becoming the only openly gay current professional A-League player in the process.
In the post, an initially nervous Josh Cavallo explains, “There’s something that I need to share with everyone. I’m a footballer, and I’m gay.”
“Growing up, I always felt the need to hide myself,” the Adelaide United player continues, “I was ashamed. Ashamed I’d never be able to do what I love and be gay. As a kid, all I wanted to do was play football and be treated equally.”
Josh's Truth pic.twitter.com/NKSEP2kVWV
— Adelaide United (@AdelaideUnited) October 27, 2021
He continues, “Being a gay closeted footballer, I’ve had to learn to mask my feelings in order to fit the mould of a professional footballer. Growing up being gay and playing football were just two worlds that hadn’t crossed paths before.
“In football, you only have a small window to achieve greatness, and coming out publicly may have a negative impact on a career.
“As a gay footballer, I know there are other players living in silence. I want to help change this, to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football, and deserves the right to be their authentic self.”
In an interview with the BBC Newshour programme, Cavallo shared, “It’s been a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come out. I have been fighting with my sexuality for six years now, and I’m glad I can put that to rest.”
“At the end of the day I just wanted to be happy. This is bigger than football, it’s my life. I’d go home and I wasn’t happy,” he explained. “It just slowly eats away at you and it’s not something I wish upon anyone.”
Cavallo’s coming out is huge in the world of football. In September, former England international player Rio Ferdinand shared how a gay footballer was advised not to come out by his lawyer.
He reinforced that the attention on professional football is incomparable to many other sports, and is likely a reason why male players do not come out. “The amount of eyeballs and the amount of attention and press pages that they’re going to get extra is so much more. It’s about, ‘are you capable of coming out and being able to withstand that media attention?’”
Here’s hoping that Cavallo’s bravery opens the doors for other gay players to live without fear of backlash.
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