Josh Cavallo’s bravery shows why football needs to change

Adelaide United’s Joshua Cavallo has become the first top flight professional footballer in the world to come out as gay.

The 21-year-old released a statement on Wednesday that spread across social media and beyond with endless members of the football community praising the youngster for coming forward in a way that many hope will inspire others to do the same.

“There’s something personal that I need to share with everyone: I’m a footballer, and I am gay.”

“It’s been a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come out,” Cavallo said. “I have been fighting my sexuality for over six years now, and I’m glad I can put that to rest.”

“All I want to do is play football and be treated equally. I’m tired of trying to perform at the best of your ability and to live this double life. It’s exhausting. It’s something that I don’t want anyone to experience.”

The start of a bigger movement

Between Rio Ferdinand suggesting there are gay players who have been advised not to come out and the general discrimination seen in terraces and online across Europe, something has to change. Toxic masculinity has played a key role in association football for decades now and instead of shying away from that fact, it’s about time we all stood up and did something about it.

Joshua Cavallo made an incredibly bold decision today and should be respected for doing so. Alas, he also shouldn’t have had to endure that kind of stress and turmoil in the first place – and neither should anyone else who finds themselves in a similar position.

The day needs to come when a player revealing his sexuality to the world is considered to be normal and not newsworthy, and it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

The FA, UEFA, FIFA and the global “football family” needs to come together and make the sport feel like an accepting place for all.

Featured image credit: Getty