A – League player, Josh Cavallo publicly spoke out about homophobia he experienced while playing against Melbourne Victory last weekend. Spectators abused him while he was on the field and on Instagram.
He described the events as “disappointing”.
He also attacked Instagram for not doing enough to combat abuse.
To @instagram, I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages I’ve received.
He went on:
I knew truly being who I am that I was going to come across this. It’s a sad reality that your platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.
Football community offer support to Cavallo
Luckily, Cavallo has received a lot of support within the sporting community.
When addressing the bullying, Australian Professional Leagues (APL) chief executive, Danny Townsend promised that the league would “issue sanctions to any people found to be involved”.
Additionally, Melbourne Victory also vowed to work with Adelaide United and others to stamp out abuse.
Lastly, PFA co – chief executives Beau Busch and Kathryn Gill condemned the abuse as “abhorrent” and “illustrated their [the bullies’] cowardice”.
Professional Football’s mixed history with the LGBTQ+ community
Australian football codes has a mixed history with LGBTQ+2 rights.
NRL player Ian Roberts was the first player to come out as gay in 1995. Unfortunately, he became a victim of a violent homophobic hate crime.
In 2010 former Western Bulldogs champion, Jason Akermanis said that footballers shouldn’t come out as gay. He said he didn’t want gay footballers hitting on other men in the change rooms. He denied that he was homophobic.
Even if Akermanis didn’t intend to be homophobic, I think most people can agree that his comments were ignorant. It isn’t as if lesbian, gay, bi and homoromantic people hit on all members of the same – sex that they see. But I digress…
In 2015, the AFL premiered Pride Round. This was to commemorate the coming out of former footballer, Jason Ball back in 2012. The Sydney Swans and St. Kilda Saints battle each other in the Pride Round each year.
The National Rugby League (NRL) have also publicly supported the LGBTQ+ community.
On NRL’s website, they have a page openly supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The league claims that they are:
…proud to participate in Pride In Sport (PIS) Index; a recenlty established benchmarking instrument designed to measure and advise on the creation of inclusive and equitable environments for LGBTI players…
Is football still victim of macho culture?
Professional sport, especially football, has come a long way in LGBTQ+ inclusion. But old habits die hard.
Even though same – sex marriage was legalised in Australia in 2017, it seems some people still have potentially outdated views about football, gender and sexuality.
The football codes still have to be wary of largely outdated views on masculinity. Yes, gay, bi and pansexual men are ‘macho’ enough to play football, regardless of code.
Also, why is someone’s sexuality a determinant on whether or not someone can play sport? Isn’t that what critics are always saying? To keep sexuality out of the public/ work, etc?
Yet, it’s critics that complain and harass LGBTQ+ public figures. It’s the trolls and bullies that keep shining a spotlight on a person’s personal life. Leave LGBTQ+ alone! It’s that simple!
YOU keep out of other people’s bedroom. YOU stop gawking when a same – sex couple hold hands or *gasp* kiss. And mind your own business.
If you are LGBTQ+ and are struggling mentally, you can contact QLIfe on 1800 184 527 or their web chat.