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Australian footballer Josh Cavallo revealed his homosexuality on Wednesday October 27 in a video shared on social networks. Publicly declaring one’s homosexuality is unprecedented in football for an active player. He is the first to break this taboo in the world of football. Thursday October 28, Antoine Griezmann, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane, Gerard Piqué or Zlatan Ibrahimovic greeted his message.
« Homophobia in football is enough! »In 2019, the message was signed Antoine Griezmann, world football champion, whose anti-homophobia positioning, for a sportsman of his caliber, was unprecedented.
For the first time, unlike other sports like tennis, boxing, basketball, swimming or judo, an active football player comes out.
Facing the camera, in a video of a few seconds, shared on social networks, a 21-year-old Australian boy announces: ” Hello everyone, I am Josh Cavallo. I have something personal to share with you: I am a football player and I am gay. The midfielder of Adelaide United (A-League) will go down in football history. Because if former players waited until the end of their career to reveal their sexual orientation, he did not wait to retire.
« I was afraid of people’s reaction »
« It’s been a long journey to get there, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come out, wrote the person on his twitter and Instagram accounts. I’ve been fighting my sexuality for over six years now, and I’m glad I can put that aside. »
In the video, the player says: ” I’m sick of trying to live this double life, it’s exhausting. I was afraid of how people would react when they found out, afraid they would start treating me differently, or saying bad things about me or making fun of me. This is not the case. On the contrary, you would gain more respect from people. All I want is to play football and be treated equally. »
Josh Cavallo explains: “ As a gay footballer, I had to learn to hide my feelings to fit into the mold of a professional footballer. Growing up being gay and playing soccer is not easy. Statistics show that only 33% of young gay men play football compared to 68% of young straight men. I lived my life assuming this was a topic that should never be discussed. »
Inspired by Justin Fashanu
In 2020, in the English championship, a still active player revealed his homosexuality in an anonymous open letter. ” Only my family members and a circle of close friends know about my sexuality. I don’t feel ready to share it with my team or my coach », He had confided.
In 1990, the attacker Justin Fashanu, which was no longer in activity, had entered the history of the most popular sport in the world. He had become the first nationally recognized English footballer to reveal his homosexuality and faced immediate rejection from his peers and fans. Abandoned by the football world, the ex-international hopeful England committed suicide eight years later, at only 37 years old. He had been found hanged in a garage. Justin Fashanu had to face a homophobic campaign. A 17-year-old young man had accused him of sexual assault. The charges were dropped.
The support of Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Gerard Piqué
Josh Cavallo himself has indicated that Fashanu’s case was on his mind as he considered the possibility of revealing his homosexuality. Josh Cavallo’s video will shake the lines? ” Hope this will change in the near future He said simply.
The day after his announcement, messages of support reached him in number. Antoine Griezmann, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane, Gerard Piqué or Zlatan Ibrahimovic: his video has been hailed by the football world.
« I want to send a message to the whole world to show that no matter who you are, what you believe in or what culture or background you come from, everyone is accepted in football. It should be based on your talent, not what you look like or believe in. At the end of the day, it’s 2021 and it’s time to change that in football », He commented.
Several European clubs like Arsenal, Juventus, and Barcelona also praised Josh Cavallo for his statements.
The reactions extended beyond football with that of the former Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol, now a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who estimated, also on Twitter, that ” in 2021 this should not be news. Well done for this step forward for sport, well said ».