CORVALLIS - Esera Tuaolo, an Oregon State University football standout who went on to a nine-year professional career in the National Football League, will return to campus on Wednesday, May 14, to talk about his experiences as a gay athlete.
His talk, "An Evening with Esera Tuaolo," begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Football Center on campus. It is free and open to the public.
Tuaolo's appearance is part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at OSU. He was asked by campus organizers of the event to speak about his experiences as an NFL veteran and a gay Pacific Islander male, according to Sandy Tsuneyoshi, coordinator of the university's Asian Pacific American Education Office.
Tuaolo was born on Hawaii's Oahu and grew up on a small banana farm as the youngest of eight children. He moved to California in high school to get more exposure for his football prowess, and immediately attracted the attention of recruiters. He came to OSU in the mid-1980s and became a first team, All-Pacific 10 Conference selection, winning the coveted Morris Trophy as the outstanding defensive lineman in the league.
In 1990, the Green Bay Packers drafted Tuaolo with the 35th pick in the NFL draft.
During his NFL career, he was a productive defensive lineman known for his ability to stop the run. He gained attention by singing the national anthem while in uniform as a rookie during a televised Monday Night Football game, and again at the 1999 Pro Bowl.
Tuaolo has said he was forced to hide his sexuality because of the culture of professional football and did not begin openly addressing that sexuality until after his retirement.
The OSU alumnus is now pursuing a career in singing and acting. He lives in Minnesota with his partner and their adopted twin son and daughter.
Tuaolo's talk is sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Education Office, the Asian Pacific American Student Union, Casa Educacional, the OSU Dean of Students Office, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the Memorial Union Program Council, and the Vice President for Student Affairs Office.
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Sandy Tsuneyoshi, 541-737-9033