“I am a football player and I am gay.” In a video posted Wednesday evening on the social networks of his club Adelaide United, Australian Josh Cavallo became the first footballer playing in a first division championship to come out. Since then, the 21-year-old athlete has said to himself “Overwhelmed and happy with the response received», during an interview with Sky Sports this Thursday.
Besides his family and friends, the wave of support did not stop there. The decision to make his sexual orientation public has also been applauded around the world of football. “I’m proud of you”, reacted on Twitter Antoine Griezmann. In 2019, in an interview with magazine LGBT + Stubborn, the French international assured: “If a gay footballer wants to come out, he’ll have me by his side.” Promise kept.
«You are a champion, for his part, declared on Twitter Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Football is for everyone. Great respect”, greeted the Swedish star. “I know it takes courage, commented English footballer Marcus Rashford on the social network. Know that the entire football community stands by your side. ” Raphael Varane also joined the praise concert on the Internet, just like Gerard Piqué or David de Gea.
Josh Cavallo’s video, viewed seven million times in 24 hours, even caught the attention of famous American talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. “I send her a lot of love today”, has she tweeted to its 77 million followers.
“Being gay is normal in ” real life ””
“I have had a lot of very positive feedback from great personalities around the world, football icons, mainly heterosexual athletes., he reacted in The Parisian this Thursday. It just shows that this is welcome in our community. We are in 2021, being gay is normal in “real life”. So why not in football? ”
Josh Cavallo has indicated he wants “To send a message to the whole world to show that no matter who you are, what you believe in or what culture or origin you come from, everyone is accepted in football”. “It should be based on your talent, not what you look like or what you believe in”, added the native of Bentleigh East, a suburb of Melbourne. “At the end of the day, we are in 2021 and it is time to change that in football”, assured the player, who hopes that his decision will inspire others.
Another player in a similar situation, Andy Brennan, who made a few games in the Australian league before revealing he was gay three years ago, praised Josh Cavallo. But he also wondered why gay gamers should be «braves» and “courageous”. «To just be what we really are?», he asked himself in a column published Thursday in the Australian edition of Guardian. “There is still a lot of work to be done to make sport environments safe and inclusive for LGBT + people, so that athletes like me and Josh feel it’s a safe place for us to come out.”, he added.
Few professional footballers have publicly declared themselves as gay and usually do so after quitting to avoid homophobic remarks from spectators. The first to do so was Englishman Justin Fashanu in the 1990s, but he committed suicide in 1998 after quitting playing and while living in the United States. A charity created by his family released a letter from an anonymous Premier League player last year denouncing the lack of progress in football on this subject. This player qualified his situation “Absolute nightmare”, adding that he “Felt trapped, the fear of telling the truth about who I am only making things worse”.
Josh Cavallo himself has indicated that Fashanu’s case is on his mind as he considers the possibility of revealing his homosexuality. “I remember reading about Justin Fashanu as the first professional footballer to reveal his homosexuality in the 1990s and his suicide eight years later and it got me thinking”, did he declare.