Esera Tuaolo, Retired NFL Player and LGBT Advocate
Esera Tuaolo discusses his decade-long football career as a defensive tackle in the NFL and his advocacy for more diversity and inclusion in sports.
On being closeted in the NFL: “It was just very difficult waking up every single morning and as soon as you walk through those doors of the locker room, you transform yourself into somebody that you're not – a straight man. And then you start hearing all the negative things about how you truly are, but just all the bantering and stuff in the locker rooms. And so it was definitely difficult. But I have to tell you this one thing. I think the most hurtful thing for me was not being able to share it with somebody.”
On coming out as gay after retiring from the NFL: “I got thousands and thousands of emails from people around the world saying how my story has really encouraged them and helped them and I continue to get those every single day… Opening up those doors really helped me as an individual to heal and to forgive and let go.”