It’s Josh Cavallo’s time to shine & this teammate’s homophobic remarks aren’t going to dim his light

It’s Josh Cavallo’s time to shine & this teammate’s homophobic remarks aren’t going to dim his light

You are currently viewing It’s Josh Cavallo’s time to shine & this teammate’s homophobic remarks aren’t going to dim his light
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For Australian soccer star Josh Cavallo, this year’s Pride round is taking on a very significant meaning.

Thanks to an Achilles tendon injury, Cavallo was unable to participate in last season’s inaugural A-League Pride celebration. But this weekend, he’ll be back on the pitch, and with a point to prove.

While sidelined, Cavallo wasn’t only dealing with a difficult rehab. The forward was also combating homophobic abuse. He opened up about the taunts he faced, sharing his experience on Instagram.

“Being absent from football with a long term injury, the outside noise was present and unavoidable amongst this journey,” he posted. “Sadly, countless and endless death threats aimed to my everyday life and sexuality due to my football absence.”

But Cavallo didn’t allow those cruel words to derail him. He continued with his rehab, thanks to the overwhelming support he received from his fans.

“To the people that were there endlessly with positivity. Thank you, you beautiful people,” he wrote. “I returned back with my team and on the rise for my return.”

Back since January, Cavallo is ready for this weekend’s action. His club, Adelaide United, will take on Melbourne Victory in the men’s and women’s competitions. The winner will receive the coveted Pride Cup.

And we must say, he looks great in rainbow! Prior to this weekend, Cavallo showed off his new attire for the world to see.

“I’m extremely proud to announce the New Limited Addition Pride Jersey to show the world that WE’RE HERE, WE’RE QUEER and WE ARE THRIVING!,” he wrote.

“The lives we have changed together in this world is beyond beautiful. We’re changing this world to be a safer home for the LGBTQ+ community.”

Cavallo, who publicly came out as gay in October 2021, is helping to accomplish that goal. He’s one of the more visible out gay active male athletes today, campaigning for civil rights and appearing on unabashed queer programs, such as RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The native Aussie is one of only four out gay active male soccer players, along with Collin Martin, Jakub Jankto and teenager Jake Daniels (Zander Murray retired last year).

That’s one of the many reasons why it’s important for Australia’s A-League, and other pro sports leagues, to hold Pride-themed events. The outreach shows LGBTQ+ people they belong on the field, even though there’s a dearth of role models.

Now ubiquitous across sports, Pride celebrations have elicited some controversy in recent years. The most egregious example in the U.S. was last season’s NHL’s Pride fiasco, in which multiple players refused to wear rainbow warmup jerseys, sparking an ill-advised ban.

Cavallo’s club, despite his presence, is facing a similar dilemma. Earlier this week, one of his teammates, Musa Toure, announced on Instagram he disagrees with the weekend’s Pride initiative.

“For the Muslim brothers and sisters I’m an Adelaide United player but also I’m a Muslim before anything,” he said in his now-deleted post. “I do not support the pride round. I love football but I have no say … the Muslims in my team all disagree about the pride round but we also have no problem with the LGBTQ PEOPLE!! It’s their life.”

Toure, like many people who express opposition towards Pride, is contradicting himself. One cannot simultaneously support LGBTQ+ people and reject Pride.

Now, Toure is backtracking, saying he realizes his comments were “hurtful” and “insensitive.” Adelaide United released a statement, too, though the team doesn’t mention Toure’s name.

Still a teenager, there’s plenty of time for Toure to grow. But he must make the effort. It’s one thing to apologize after getting caught. But putting in the work, and learning about the LGBTQ+ community, is a much more important effort.

Fortunately for Toure, Cavallo is quite the teacher. Toure’s agent says his client plans to apologize to him.

Let’s hope it’s the start of a productive conversation.


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