Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo encourages other athletes to come out after ‘phenomenal’ reaction
Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo has revealed the “phenomenal” reaction he’s received after publicly coming out as gay and has encouraged athletes from other sports, including AFL, to follow suit.
The 21-year-old made headlines around the world after posting a video on social media declaring: “I’m a footballer and I am gay”.
His emotional confession was met with overwhelming support, as the A-League midfielder made history as the only male, top tier soccer player in the world to come out as gay.
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“I’ve had positive responses from football club messaging me – Liverpool, Manchester United, the Premier League messaged me, FIFA messaged me congratulating me, so it’s been phenomenal,” he told 6PR.
“My sports stars I used to see on TV – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcus Rashford, (Gerard) Pique from Barcelona and (Antoine) Griezmann – it’s just been amazing support.
“They all reached out and said they’re proud of me, and it just gives me a real buzz on the inside, and I just hope that people don’t have to hide themselves anymore, and do what I did because it was very dark and painful.”
Cavallo said it was just a matter of time before athletes from other sports, including AFL - which currently has no openly gay players in the system - come out and encouraged them to look at the positive reaction to his announcement as motivation.
“I think it’s just a matter of one person doing it and seeing the reaction,” he said.
“Hopefully I can inspire someone to reach out to me and ask for guidance and I’ll be more than happy to help them through this process and just talk to them.
“I’ve been through the footsteps and they know my pain, I know their pain. Just to make them more comfortable and that when they do come out - or they don’t have to come out - but just to be happy with themselves.
“I wasn’t happy living the life I was, living lies and telling my loved ones and friends things that weren’t true. I wanted to be free, I wanted to be happy and it’s something that I get to do now. So I’m really happy I can do that.
“I think any sport is open to it. AFL is huge in Australia so I think that if one person comes out in AFL, (they) would be recognised as a huge icon. It’s exciting times ahead and it’s something we can look forward to.”
Cavallo’s video, titled Josh’s Truth, was posted on United’s Twitter account on Wednesday and has more than 6.6 million views.
Out of the 18 AFL clubs, 14 had re-shared the video to their own Twitter page - almost all offering messages of support.
“Sport is for everyone. Your courage will inspire others to do the same, thank you Josh,” Brisbane’s read.
“Your bravery + courage will inspire so many others,” reigning premiers Melbourne said.
“Bravo, Josh. Thank you for having the courage to share your story and inspire others. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable being themselves on and off the field,” Port Adelaide wrote.
West Coast and Fremantle were one of four AFL teams, along with Carlton and Geelong, yet to respond to the video.
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