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Former pro football player Esera Tuaolo speaking about being gay in the NFL

Tuaolo excelled in the NFL as a defensive lineman for nine years, but led a double life

03/15/07

Former professional football player Esera Tuaolo is talking about the persecution he faced being a gay man in such a highly macho field of athletics on Thursday, March 15, at 7:00 p.m. in the Schiff Banquet and Conference Center.

For nine years, Tuaolo excelled in the NFL as a defensive lineman. He played for five different teams and went to Super Bowl XXXIII with the Atlanta Falcons. He sang the national anthem in uniform at a nationally televised Monday night game as a rookie and at the 1999 Pro-Bowl.

During his tenure in the NFL, Tuaolo hid his sexuality. He led a double life that deeply depressed him, but which he now looks back on with a new perspective. During this difficult time, he persevered by following his mother’s example and maintaining his strong spiritual faith.

After retiring from professional football, Tuaolo publicly announced his sexuality. Only one of three former NFL players to ever come out, he has received huge amounts of support from old teammates, the media, friends and family alike. He also authored Alone in the Trenches: My Life As a Gay Man in the NFL,” which was published last year.

The event is sponsored by the Xavier Alliance, Student Government Association’s Lecture Series Board, Black Student Association and the Peer Leadership Group.