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Former NFL Player to speak at Olivet College
Oct 03, 2007

Esera Tuaolo, a former defensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL), will speak as part of Olivet College’s Lecture and Symposium Series Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 1:30 p.m. in the Upton Center. The event is free and open to the public.

For nine years, Tuaolo excelled in the NFL, playing for five different teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, where he played in Super Bowl XXXIII. He also sang the national anthem in uniform at a nationally televised Monday night game as a rookie and at the 1999 Pro Bowl.

But as a gay man in the masculine culture of professional football, Tuaolo was forced to hide his sexuality. The secret crippled him, leading him to drink excessively and contemplate suicide. It also hindered his football achievements, as he felt that if he were too good a player, he would be exposed as a homosexual.

It was after retiring from professional football that Tuaolo became fed up with pretending to “be straight.” He publicly announced his sexuality, which he describes as “taking off a costume I’ve been wearing all my life.” Only one of the three former NFL players to ever come out, he has received huge amounts of support: from old teammates, the media, friends and family alike. Now he brings his incredible story to the podium to inspire others to achieve their best by speaking to their individual truths without fear or intimidation. He is the author of “Alone in the Trenches.”

For more information, call (269) 749-7164.



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