As It Happens

Chuck’s Chat – DAAAAMMMMNNNN, ESERA !!!!

Story by Chuck Tackett


Several weeks ago, I was watching the premiere of the Blind Auditions of Season 13 of “The Voice”.

When this contestant arrived on stage, I was saying to myself that he looked familiar. When he started to sing, he got my attention almost immediately. His voice was amazing. Coach Jennifer Hudson at first took notice and turned around. Then Coach Blake Shelton turned around.


When both Coaches tried to seduce him to be on their respective teams, he introduced himself as Esera Tuaolo. AGAIN, I said I know this man. His name sounds familiar. When he revealed he used to be a pro football player after Blake noticed his Super Bowl ring, it FINALLY dawned on me who this man was. I had met him around 15 years ago while I was taking photos for KC Exposures. Esera attended the “Out In Westport” street fair.


He was one of the first few pro football players that came out as Gay. He played for about 9 to 10 years as a Defensive Tackle for the NFL. We spoke just a few seconds, he was trying to leave. Mainly we smiled at each other saying hi.

In 2002, Esera announced publicly on HBO’s “Real Sports” that he was Gay. Since he came out, Esera has been a strong LGBTQ activist. Some of his advocacy work has been working with the NFL concerning homophobia in the league, a Board member of The Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation and was politically active fighting against anti-Same sex marriage legislation. Esera has made appearances on “Oprah”, “The Tyra Banks Show” and “Good Morning America” talking about battling homophobia. Currently, his LGBTQ advocacy work includes speaking at colleges and corporations about pervasiveness about homophobia and helping organizational leaders create fair and safe working environments for their members and employees.

In 2006, Esera published his autobiography entitled “Alone in the Trenches. My Life As a Gay Man in the NFL”. His book addressed his upbringing in Hawaii and shed light on ho his experiences with poverty, sexuality, and football-shaped him.

Esera now resides in Minneapolis along with his twin children Mitchell and Michelle. In his spare time, he does philanthropy work, cooks professionally, and runs “Hate in any Form is Wrong”, an anti-bullying program.

Best of luck Esera. Congratulations on making it to the Semi-Finals. I hope you make it to the finals and be Season 13 winner. DAAAMMMMNNNN ESERA !!!! You sure can sing.

Chuck’s Chat operates under an open authority. Opinions and comments are welcome. Send them to¬†