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Tuaolo gay: is this news?

Old 10-24-02, 12:07 PM
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Tuaolo gay: is this news?

Just curious to see if everyone here sees this as news. Why and why not?

Thursday, October 24

Tuaolo says he contemplated suicide news services

The New York Post reported Thursday that Esera Tuaolo, who played nine years in the NFL as a defensive lineman, will reveal he is gay in an interview to be shown Tuesday on HBO's "Real Sports." Tuaolo, who played for five NFL teams, said a major reason for his early retirement in 1999 was the difficulty and frustration that came with keeping his sexual orientation a secret.

"They didn't know who Esera Tuaolo is," he said in the interview. "What they saw was an actor."

Tuaolo, 34, said players routinely told gay jokes in the locker room.

"They made me go further and further into depression, further and further into shame," he said.

In a transcript and tape obtained by The New York Post, Tuaolo discusses the depth of his depression, saying it reached a point to where he thought about suicide.

"When I'm driving like over a 100 (mph), maybe I could just like turn that wheel, just turn that wheel so I could just end it all," Tuaolo said in the interview.

Tuaolo, a native of Hawaii, played at Oregon State before being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1991 (35th pick overall). He also played for the Panthers, Vikings and Jaguars, and for the Falcons for whom he played with in Super Bowl XXXIII.

The "Real Sports" segment also features ESPN's Sterling Sharpe, a former teammate of Tuaolo's with the Packers.

When Sharpe was asked what would have happened if Tuaolo came out while he was still playing in the NFL, Sharpe said: "He would have been eaten alive and he would have been hated for it."

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Old 10-24-02, 12:08 PM
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That is absolutely news. Of course Tuaolo was never a marquee player, but, at least as far as I know, he is the first NFL player to come out. That's a big deal.
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Old 10-24-02, 12:16 PM
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I had heard Real Sports was doing a story on a gay ex-NFLer, just didn't know who. It's news in that someone is actually coming forward, albeit after their retirement. However, given the number of NFL players, its inevitable that some are gay. So it's not that big of a deal.
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Old 10-24-02, 04:56 PM
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They way I see it. He did his job on the field and thats what was important. It is howerver sad to see that he contemplated suicide because of the ridicule his teammated unknowingly put upon him.
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Old 10-24-02, 04:57 PM
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Never heard of him.
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Old 10-24-02, 05:30 PM
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Is it a big deal? Yes and no. IMHO that is.

Yes, because for current football players who are gay but who also have not revealed this information to the football community, this has to be somewhat of a relief. Psychologically, it has be uplifting for a player to know that he is not the only gay football player in the league, and that other players have had to face the possibility of being harassed if they were to reveal their sexual orientation. I think it also opens the possibility in their minds that there are other gay players who are playing right now, that is, it gives gay players the feeling that they are not alone.

No, because I don't think this is going to change the behavior of gay players. Would you reveal your homosexual orientation knowing that an associated stigma with being gay is still very much prevalent in our society? And I think it might be even worse to admit it in a football environment, where players are taught to hate the opposition and to be aggressive at all times. Imagine how oppositional players would react to an openly-gay player on the field. I'd hate to say it, but there's a good chance that these players would be targeted on the field.
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Old 10-24-02, 11:49 PM
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So when will Kordell finally come out?
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Old 10-25-02, 12:57 AM
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Jeez, not really. Now if 70% of NFL players came out of the closet, that's big news. But one unknown never-was is not.
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Old 10-25-02, 11:23 AM
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So when will Kordell finally come out?
That's what I was gonna say!!!
Well at least this quasi-opens the door for him.
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Old 10-25-02, 11:28 AM
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Originally posted by El - Greazzo
So when will Kordell finally come out?

Considering some of those sweaters that he has worn for tv interviews, I submit that he already has come out.
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Old 10-25-02, 11:59 AM
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Yes, it's news in the sense that he's the only NFL player that I can think of who has "come out of the closet".

It's not news in the sense that we should expect there to be gay players in the NFL (and other sports) just based on odds.

Sadly, gay players will probably never be fully accepted in sports.

I'd be really surprised if a player declared their homosexuality while they were active and not retired.

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Old 10-25-02, 12:14 PM
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Is he the first?
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Old 10-26-02, 01:36 AM
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Actually, aren't all players pretty happy to be playing their favorite sport and making all that dough?
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Old 10-26-02, 01:59 AM
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Originally posted by El - Greazzo
So when will Kordell finally come out?
I was wondering the same thing about Jeff Garcia... at least the Bay Area is fairly gay-friendly... would maybe be a little "safer" for Jeff...
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Old 10-26-02, 11:47 AM
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On a football team where the guys are all trying to be as "tough" as possible, where they all shower together, etc, it's not unreasonable for some of them to be uncomfortable if they know that someone else on the team is gay.

It may or may not be right, but it is understandable.

Can you imagine if a quarterback or a center came out of the closet? Wouldn't that be uncomfortable? I mean - imagine you're a center on a football team and the quarterback - the guy who has his hands on your ass every offensive play of the game - came out of the closet and admitted that he was gay?

Now, maybe realistically you could know that it doesn't make a damn bit of difference on the field, but that's an intellectual response. How someone would feel is not based on that intellectual response.

I can't see a player coming out of the closet and not getting the cold shoulder from many of his teammates. I would imagine that he would be the butt of many jokes and would probably feel ridiculed.

Football, being such a contact sport, is probably the last one that could accept gay players.

So is this news? As others have said; yes and no.

By the way, someone came out of the closet after his playing career ended back in the 70's - I can't remember what his name was, though. He wasn't a major star or anything....
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Old 10-26-02, 06:48 PM
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Originally posted by subbacultcha
Is he the first?

But he is the first to come out in this media-crazed era.
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Old 10-27-02, 07:14 PM
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So he started off as a tight end....became a wide receiver??
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Old 10-27-02, 07:57 PM
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Name an era that hasn't been media-crazed...

Also, remember this isn't hard news here -- this is on HBO's "Real Sports." Taking into consideration the medium and platform, it's pretty relevant.

If this was the lead story on Headline News, I'd think it's not very newsworthy.
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Old 10-27-02, 08:15 PM
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former 49'ers player David Kopay came out wayback in the 1970's, decent player from what I understand, was blackballed from Football, then wrote a bestseller book
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