The homophobic abuse came during the second half of the A-League match against Melbourne Victory when Cavallo came on as a substitute. Certain sections of the crowd at the AMMI Park booed him and chanted homophobic slurs, and both teams have condemned those responsible.
Nathan Kosima, chief executive officer of Adelaide United called the incident “disappointing and upsetting”.
“Josh continues to show immense courage,” said Kosima, “and we join him in calling out abuse, which has no place in society, and it will not be tolerated by our Club.”
“The Club is committed to celebrating diversity in football, and strongly condemns this behaviour which has no place at our Club or in our game,” read a statement by the opposing team.
The A-Leagues and APL support Josh Cavallo and commend him calling out homophobic abuse directed at him during Adelaide United's Isuzu UTE A-League away match against Melbourne Victory.
— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) January 9, 2022
“Melbourne Victory sees football as a platform to unite fans no matter what background. Spectators found to have breached these standards will be banned from future matches.”
Cavallo, who made history when he came out in October becoming the first openly gay active top-flight men’s footballer, released a statement on Twitter, acknowledging the incident and calling for better.
Some of the words hurled at Josh Cavallo last night from the terrace was disgusting. We must do better and I'm proud of him for calling it out. Football is for everyone.
— Phillip Danh (@phillydanh) January 9, 2022
“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,” he wrote.
“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 will never win. I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.”
— Josh Cavallo (@JoshuaCavallo) January 9, 2022
He goes on to address all the young fans who may have been hurt by this incident or similar events. He said, “Hold your head up 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.”
Cavallo also called on Twitter and Instagram to do better in preventing online bullying or harassment, as the homophobic abuse he faced at the match carried over to the social media platforms.
It's 2022 FFS.
Josh Cavallo is the only openly gay current top-flight male professional footballer.
He's a brave man with a massive role in the future of the game.
🌈 🤜🤛 https://t.co/BJyjT86Tpd
— Greig Nicol (@GreigNicol1) January 9, 2022
“I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I’ve received … It’s a sad reality that your platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”
He ended his statement by thanking his fans for their ongoing support that “far outweighs the negativity” and declaring that “Love will always win.”
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