Tuaolo, Esera 1968–

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Tuaolo, Esera 1968–

(Esera Tavai Tuaolo)

PERSONAL: Born July 11, 1968, in Honolulu, HI; partner of Mitchell Wherley; children: Mitchell and Michele (twins). Education: Attended Oregon State University.

ADDRESSES: Home—Minneapolis, MN. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Sourcebooks, Inc., 1935 Brookdale Rd., Ste. 139, Naperville, IL 60563.

CAREER: Professional football player in National Football League, 1990–99, played for Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, and Green Bay Packers; currently a professional singer and actor.


(With John Rosengren) Alone in the Trenches: My Life As a Gay Man in the NFL (autobiography), Sourcebooks (Naperville, IL), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS: Former National Football League player Esera Tuaolo tells his personal story in Alone in the Trenches: My Life As a Gay Man in the NFL, written with John Rosengren. Tuaolo, an ethnic Samoan who was born in Hawaii and was a star player at Oregon State University, had a nine-year career in the NFL. He played for several teams over the years and made it to the 1998 Super Bowl, but during this time he lived in constant fear that his homosexuality would be discovered, resulting in his being ostracized or kicked out of the league. "Tuaolo began his coming-out journey after his sixth season in the NFL," reported Bruce C. Steele in an Advocate article. Tuaolo began reading The David Kopay Story, an autobiography from 1975 by the first professional football player to come out as a gay man. Tuaolo told Steele, "I saw myself going through the same thing…. I literally just started crying. All that hurt and anxiety came back." A few months later he met his partner, Mitchell Wherley.

With Wherley by his side, as well as the understanding of both his own and Wherley's parents, Tuaolo made it through his coming-out experience and now has a successful singing and acting career, a loving partner, and adopted twin children. Critics such as Booklist reviewer Wes Lukowsky praised Tuaolo's autobiography for its "admirable frankness." A Publishers Weekly writer also lauded the book, stating that it "communicates a warmth and openness that will appeal to both football fans and the gay community."



Tuaolo, Esera, and John Rosengren, Alone in the Trenches: My Life As a Gay Man in the NFL, Sourcebooks (Naperville, IL), 2006.


Advocate, November 26, 2002, Bruce C. Steele, "Tackling Football's Closet," p. 30.

Booklist, November 1, 2005, Wes Lukowsky, review of Alone in the Trenches, p. 12.

Library Journal, January 1, 2006, David Azzolina, review of Alone in the Trenches, p. 139.

Publishers Weekly, September 26, 2005, review of Alone in the Trenches, p. 71.


Esera Tuaolo Home Page, http://www.eseratuaolo.com (March 25, 2006).

ESPN Magazine Online, http://espn.go.com/magazine/ (October 30, 2002), Esera Tuaolo and Luke Cyphers, "Free and Clear," article about author.

Utopia Hawaii, http://espn.go.com/magazine/ (March 14, 2006), "The Newest Addition to the Family," biography of Esera Tuaolo.