Aussie legend urges football to 'do better' after Iker Casillas 'jokes' that he's 'gay'
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Australian football legend Craig Foster has applauded Josh Cavallo for taking a stance against Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol while urging football to ‘do better’.
Former Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas caused a storm when he appeared to come out as gay.
He wrote: "I hope you respect me: I'm gay."
In response, Casillas' Spain teammate Puyol replied and posted, ‘It's time to tell our story, Iker’, adding a love heart and kissing emoji.
The tweets had since been deleted with both Spanish players apologising, and Casillas claiming he was hacked.
@IkerCasillas and @Carles5puyol joking and making fun out of coming out in football is disappointing. It’s a difficult journey that any LGBTQ+ ppl have to go through. To see my role models and legends of the game make fun out of coming out and my community is beyond disrespectful pic.twitter.com/Yp88aQyyTV— Josh Cavallo (@JoshuaCavallo) October 9, 2022
However, Cavallo branded the antics ‘disappointing’ and ‘beyond disrespectful’ given the player’s standing in the game.
He wrote: “Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol joking and making fun out of coming out in football is disappointing.
“It’s a difficult journey that any LGBTQ+ ppl have to go through. To see my role models and legends of the game make fun out of coming out and my community is beyond disrespectful."
Cavallo’s determination to take a stance against two huge players in football was praised by former Socceroos captain Craig Foster.
Forster spoke on Stan Sport FC, saying: “What that says to me is he's growing in confidence in himself.
"Because we can't underestimate the level of courage that it took for him to do that. One of the reasons why it took so long for Josh and for others, and one of the reasons why we've only got two [openly] gay footballers present in the world, is because of this attitude in the game to gay male footballers.
"People can talk about the intent of what Iker did but in football there's not enough consideration of the actual vulnerable group of people, who are talked about constantly in this way, which puts them under pressure inside and outside dressing rooms.
"So the attitude of football towards the LGBTI community has a long way to go. It doesn't help that the World Cup is going to be in a country (Qatar) that has criminalised the LGBTI community, which really demonstrates a lack of commitment.
"And these are moments when footballers all around the world can see what's happened here. Iker Casillas, while he says he was hacked, has tried to make some form of apology. Let's hope that he makes a fulsome one.
"This is the construct of the game and we need to do much, much, much better for people like Josh Cavallo and every Josh Cavallo in dressing rooms around the world."
Fellow Socceroos great Mark Bosnich made an effort to defend Casillas.
He said: “I don't know Iker Casillas particularly well but I know him and he's not that type of person.
"He'll be mortified that he's upset any type of group."