Josh Cavallo Shares New Ralph Lauren Collab and Coming Out Stories on Instagram

Monday January 17, 2022

Overnight footballer Josh Cavallo became an international celebrity after coming out last October 27 in a touching, personal video. "Hi everyone," he began in the video, speaking nervously. "There's something personal that I need to share with everyone. I'm a footballer. And I'm gay."

"For six years, the young Australian football player had grappled with his identity and a sense of shame, fearing that he 'would never be able to do what I love and be gay' and left feeling 'numb,'" reported ESPN.

What made his gesture so extraordinary as GQ Australia points out in an interview with the 22-year old footballer is that " sport — or, rather, men's sport — remains stubbornly resistant to change.

"While there are plenty of out and proud female athletes around the world, you could count on one hand how many openly gay men are currently competing, regardless of the sport," GQ continues. "And in Australia, the problem seems particularly acute. The fact is, no male Australian footballer, AFL player, rugby player or cricketer has come out as gay while they are playing."

He recently formed a partnership with Ralph Lauren and wore the designer clothes in the photos for the GQ story. "Ralph Lauren has always been a trailblazer and has a rich history for using their voice to help make a difference in the lives of others," Cavallo told GQ of what drew him to the fashion brand. 

While coming out has been an empowering experience for Cavallo, with support coming from many quarters both in and outside of the sports world, it hasn't been without issues. This past week Cavallo posted an IG in which he responded to a homophobic slur he heard in a game.

"I'm not going to pretend that I didn't see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night. There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was. As a society it shows we still face these problems in 2022. This shouldn't be acceptable and we need to do more to hold these people accountable. Hate never will win. I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football. To all the young people who have received homophobic abuse, hold your heads up high and keep chasing your dreams. Know that there is no place in the game for this. Football is a game for everyone no matter of who you are, what colour your skin is or where you come from."

It turns out that Cavallo has been forced to deal with more than just verbal abuse. "Adelaide United has also revealed that the young player has been on the subject of appalling death threats on social media — incidents that the club has now directed to South Australia Police, and that Cavallo was unable to discuss while an investigation is ongoing," writes GQ.

Asked by the publication to weigh the good response with the bad, Cavallo said: "When I came out, I still got hate and the love overrode that. For every bad message, I got 5000 great messages. It just makes my heart melt when I get messages from people who said they were in the stadium that day and they heard this going on, and they said something. They stood up for me. That made me really emotional and proud that people do have my back. This is a stranger, someone who's reached out to me and said, 'Look, it wasn't on and we said something.' Reading those messages of support was just really nice."

He also discussed the low emotional state that led him to come out. "Yeah, it's quite sad. I would avoid going out, avoid hanging out with people, so I would be very isolated and lonely for most of the time. I would train and that would be my distraction to take my mind off of my worries. And, you know, I would go home and most nights I would go home and I would be in tears or, like, trying to think of this or that conversation I had earlier today. Did I say the right thing?"

He avoided telling friends about his personal life, but when he did, he realized he was acting. "I was trying to do this whole acting role, being someone who I wasn't, just to fit in. And I felt like I had to do that in order to continue being a footballer and continue playing at the highest level. So I'm just glad that I can put that to rest now. I don't have to worry what conversation I'm going to have at halftime, or what someone's going to ask me after the game. I can just focus on scoring goals and making our team win."

He also reflected on a painful moment that should have been a celebratory one that helped lead him to the decision to come out. "There was a moment for me when everything changed, and that was at the awards night at the end of last year. I received Best Young Player in the team. And it was a phenomenal award to get because of course you train as a team, but you also want to be the best individually, you want to shine. When I accepted the award, everyone around me was really excited. And I was happy on the outside, but I felt numb on the inside. I went home that night and I was crying."

As for his future, Cavallo said he would like to play in England's  EPL [English Premier League]. And does not fear that his personal life will overwhelm his professional one. "No, not at all. Honestly, I've gone out there and said I'm Josh Cavallo the footballer. I don't want to be known as Josh Cavallo the gay footballer. Yes, that is a side to me, but when I'm on the field I'm a footballer, exactly the same as everyone else out there. And that's the mentality the whole club has had with me."