Cavallo abuse too loud to ignore say Reds

Ed Jackson |

Josh Cavallo has called out crowd members making homophobic comments during an A-League game.
Josh Cavallo has called out crowd members making homophobic comments during an A-League game.

He’s been receiving abuse online and at matches since his highly public coming out in October, but the level of abuse directed at Josh Cavallo from the stands at Saturday’s A-League Men fixture at AAMI Park could not be ignored by the openly gay footballer.

Cavallo called out the homophobic abuse from the crowd late in Adelaide’s 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory, saying he had “no words” to describe his disappointment in an Instagram post on Sunday.

In response league officials, Victory and AAMI Park are investigating and promising sanctions for any individual identified.

Reds chief executive Nathan Kosmina said Cavallo had been dealing with constant abuse since making international headlines in October when he came out via social media and the club’s online channels.

Kosmina said the “resilient” 22-year-old had been dealing well with the situation and was in a good headspace but the scale of Saturday’s abuse meant both player and club had to call it out.

“We had a discussion about the inevitability of this before 27 October,” Kosmina said.

“He’s arguably the highest profile men’s player in the A-League now, in terms of his global reach of his name and brand. 

“Our sport being global (that) means that he gets comments from all over the world. The majority are positive but there’s an element that is negative. 

“He knows the good and the bad that come with it, this was a bridge too far in terms of the quantum of comments.

“Just went beyond what was acceptable.

“It’s never acceptable but it was just the collective voice coming out of that stand which Josh and we can’t tolerate.”

Kosmina said the abuse occurred as Cavallo was making his way past the stadium’s northern stand having been substituted out of the game.

Officials are using Cavallo’s account to scour both broadcast and CCTV footage in an attempt to identify individuals.

“Where this 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 and he said basically ‘enough’s enough, I’m calling this out’ and we’re right behind Josh.

“He’s in a good headspace but, as anyone would be, being abused online or in-person is obviously not a pleasant experience.”

Kosmina, who said Adelaide were looking to arrange a pride game in February to promote inclusion in professional sport, had a direct message to anyone engaging in the abuse.

“We don’t want you in our game. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

“It’s an element that needs to be weaned out. 20-30 years ago this is the sort of language that was probably more common, now it’s not acceptable.

“I don’t want my young boys at a game where abuse is being hurled from the stands. I don’t think any families do.”