Queer Voices

Esera Tuaolo, Gay NFL Veteran, On What Michael Sam's Coming Out Means To Professional Football

Retired NFL veteran Esera Tuaolo joined HuffPost Live this week to discuss the implications of college football star Michael Sam's coming out.

"I'd rather have what he's gonna get other than the things that I went through," Tuaolo, who played for the Green Bay Packers and the Carolina Panthers during his NFL career, said. "Now [players and coaches are] held accountable for their actions and for their words."

He went on to note, "If it was like that when I was playing, yeah, maybe I would've felt comfortable coming out, if I felt like I had the support."

Tuaolo, author of Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL, came out in 2002 after retiring from professional football. He added that he "did not feel safe at all" in the locker room with his teammates: "It was so hard...being in that masculine environment. The secret killed me."

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