Australian police investigate threats to Josh Cavallo, the first active professional footballer to come out as gay

Josh Cavallo, Australian football player / EP

When Josh Cavallo, a young Australian footballer, publicly announced in October that he is gay, the athlete felt he was stepping into a new phase. What he could not have imagined was that in that new stage he would end up asking the police for help.

Adelaide United, the club in which Cavallo plays, asked the Adelaide State Police to investigate the threats their player is receiving through social networks. This is in addition to a complaint Cavallo himself made about homophobic abuse during the 1-1 draw between his club and Melbourne Victory last weekend, noted “The Sydney Morning Herald.”

“Adelaide chief executive Nathan Kosmina said the 22-year-old has been dealing with a deluge of social media abuse since last October, when he made worldwide headlines by becoming the first active top-flight professional footballer in the world to announce he was gay”.

“The situation has taken a quiet toll on Cavallo, who Kosmina said was in a good headspace despite the weekend’s events, but had been motivated to speak out after being sprayed with homophobic slurs and death threats by a section of Melbourne Victory fans while he was being substituted out of the game during injury time”.

Kosmina expressed his respect and admiration for the steps Cavallo has been taking despite his youth.

“He’s a real resilient young man. We’ve spoken often about the courage he displayed in terms of coming out and everything that went along with that, the pressure that was on him as a global voice of the LGBTI+ community was significant”.

“He’s arguably the highest profile men’s player in the league now, in terms of the global reach of his name and brand. With that, and our sport being global, means that he gets comments from all over the world – majority positive, but there’s an element that is negative. And that is ongoing”.

Although neither the player nor the club disclosed the insults and threats received during the match, some Australian media such as “The Sydney Morning Herald” did.

Josh Cavallo

“Sources familiar with the incident say the section of Victory fans were singing ‘if you want to stay alive, go home gypsy’ at Cavallo as he walked off the field following a collision with another player that led to his exit from the match. Around the same time, some individuals within the fan group yelled homophobic slurs at him. Kosmina said Cavallo had received messages from other Victory supporters nearby who also heard the abuse”.

Australia, one of the countries most passionate about sport, will host the Olympic Games in ten years’ time, with the Brisbane 2032 Games.

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