South Australian Police are now investigating specific death threats against Josh Cavallo.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the death threats were made via social media. These have come shortly following the homophobic slurs attendees hurled at Cavallo on Saturday night at Adelaide’s A-League Men vs Melbourne Victory match at AAMI Park. Adelaide United reportedly requested the investigation.
Witnesses said a section of the Melbourne Victory fans were singing, “if you want to stay alive, go home gypsy.”
Offenders to be Banned from Future Games
The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) is investigating what happened during the Saturday night game. It promises to ban any identifiable offenders from attending future matches.
The 22-year-old was the first male professional soccer player worldwide to come out as gay in October last year. He soon after expressed his concern about competing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar due to that country having laws against homosexuality.
After the Saturday, January 8 match, the central midfielder posted on social media: “I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night…I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.”
— Josh Cavallo (@JoshuaCavallo) January 9, 2022
‘The Highest-Profile Men’s Player in the League’
Nathan Kosmina, CEO of Adelaide United, said Cavallo has received a barrage of abuse via social media since the A-League star publicly came out.
“He’s a real resilient young man,” Kosmina said. “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.”
“I think where this [incident] went a little too far was the quantum of it,” Kosmina said. “It wasn’t an individual. It was more of a collective voice coming out of that northern stand.”
“Enough’s enough. I’m calling this out”, Kosmina said, paraphrasing Cavallo. The Adelaide CEO said he and the soccer club are “right behind” him.
The APL is working alongside the operators of AAMI Park to find the CCTV footage of those responsible for the death threats and slurs.
Cavallo has Received Widespread Support
Cavallo has received support from near and far.
Retired Australian soccer player and sports analyst Craig Foster tweeted: “Much love and respect [Josh Cavallo]. To the disgusting abusers, don’t come back.”
Much love and respect @JoshuaCavallo
To the disgusting abusers, don’t come back. https://t.co/MZRbr7x4S1
— Craig Foster (@Craig_Foster) January 9, 2022
American tennis legend Billie Jean King tweeted: “Josh Cavallo, one of just a few men’s soccer players in the world to come out, shares he’s been targeted w/verbal abuse at a match. I’m standing beside you, [Josh Cavallo], as you once again use your platform to share the truth. There is no place in our world for homophobia.”
Josh Cavallo, one of just a few men's soccer players in the world to come out, shares he’s been targeted w/verbal abuse at a match.
I’m standing beside you, @JoshuaCavallo, as you once again use your platform to share the truth.
There is no place in our world for homophobia. https://t.co/s7QbayO2Hw
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) January 11, 2022
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd weighed in on the matter, tweeting: “Good on Josh Cavallo for calling this out. Nobody deserves to be subjected to homophobic abuse anywhere, including their workplace. I hope the clubs and the codes are taking this extremely seriously.”
Good on Josh Cavallo for calling this out. Nobody deserves to be subjected to homophobic abuse anywhere, including their workplace. I hope the clubs and the codes are taking this extremely seriously. https://t.co/4OFwOAfwiz
— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) January 9, 2022
If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.
For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.