Out professional soccer player Josh Cavallo has taken to social media to call out homophobic abuse he experienced at a game on Saturday. His team has also announced it had reached out to local authorities to investigate death threats the player has received.
“I’m not going to pretend that I didn't see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night,” Cavallo said on Instagram. “There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was. This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold people accountable. I will never apologize for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.”
Cavallo, 22, made history in October when he became the first active professional soccer player in the world to come out as gay.
The Australian soccer player, who plays for Adelaide United, added that Instagram’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., should do more to fight online abuse.
“To Instagram I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I've received,” Cavallo wrote. “I knew truly 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.”
In response to the messages sent to Cavallo, which have included death threats, Adelaide United has approached South Australia Police to investigate, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Australia’s soccer league is already conducting its own investigation into the abuse thrown at Cavallo at the game this weekend. It's said it will ban anyone identified as hurling the insults and slurs from future games.
Adelaide’s chief executive, Nathan Kosmina, said the homophobic abuse has taken a toll on Cavallo.
“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,” Kosmina said Monday, according to the Herald.
The team released a statement also in support of Cavallo and condemning the abuse.
“Adelaide United is proud to be an inclusive and diverse football club, and to see one of our players subjected to homophobic abuse is disappointing and upsetting,” the team said in a release. “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.”