Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL

ISBN: 1402205058
ISBN 13: 9781402205057
By: Esera Tuaolo John Rosengren

Check Price Now


G Got It But In Real Paper Gay Lgbt Memoir Memoir Autobiography Non Fiction Outboulder Book Drive Qrc Sports To Read

About this book

This is Esera Tuaolo's own searing story of terror and hope. A Samoan raised on a Hawaiian banana plantation, he had a natural talent, football. He went on to play for five NFL teams: the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Carolina Panthers, and the Atlanta Falcons in the 1999 Super Bowl. But for the nine years he played professional football he lived in terror that when his face flashed upon the TV screen, someone would divulge his darkest secret. Esera Tuaolo is gay.Alone in the Trenches takes you inside the homophobic world of professional football and describes fears that almost drove him to suicide. He evokes heartbreak--how his older brother, Tua, died of AIDS--and hope when Esera, a deeply devout Christian, fell in love and started a family.

Reader's Thoughts


Interesting look at how a gay man survived in the Hyper-masculine, heterosexist field of NFL Football. It makes you question what you would do (and hide) to carry out your dreams.

Margaret Behr

Alone in the Trenches provides an in-depth look into being a closeted NFL player. Tuaolo openly talks about his experiences as a player and his struggles to align his true identity with his athleticism. Tuaolo did not come out until after retiring for fear of injury and retaliation; reading about his fears and the possibility that his secret could end his career is powerful to say the least. Although sometimes the football references were lost on me, this true account is no less important. I see this book being used with young athletes, and potentially LGBT groups. Tuaolo reminds readers that even the "manliest" of men can be gay.Favorite quote(s): This is the story of how I dared to dream, not only of surviving professional football, but of living openly for who I am, a gay man.Football gave me something much more than an escape from my brother. It gave me affirmation. I needed that. . . That's when I learned that football was my way out. Football was a way to feel good. Even though there was all the homophobic stuff, football gave me a way to escape the pain.My success hinged on the ability to protect my secret.I don't understand how religious people can read the Bible and know that there's only one judge, yet take responsibility for being that judge.The league needs to develop a more tolerant environment. That will start with educating the owners, management, and players. The NFL needs to humanize the professional gay athlete. Take away the negative stereotypes and create a more positive image of the gay athlete - one closer to the is half the battle.My goal now in life is to educate people to make that possible. I want my children to live in a better world because of me.

John Seyfarth

Tuaolo's unceasing efforts to hide his true nature seem dated given current views of homosexuality. However, I suppose the macho attitudes in professional sports continue to make life difficult for gay men. Still, there were times as I read Tuaolo's account that I wished he would have been brave enough to come out of the closet.


Esera Tuaolo tells a heart moving story about his rise out of poverty as a young boy on a Hawaiian banana plantation to being a starting nose tackle in the Super Bowl. What sets this book apart from other rise to glory stories is that he had a secret to hide, a secret that he feared if it came out he'd lose everything. The secret he was hiding was his homosexuality. The story that Tuaolo tells is a very open and honest one. From his days exploring who he is during his time at Oregon State University to his fears of his team mates and the press finding out who he was while in the NFL. He talks about his alcholism as a way to escape his fears and his recovery after coming out publicly in 2002 on HBO's "Real Sports," three years after retiring from the NFL. This is the only book that ever made me openly weep. You could really feel the pain in his words. The way he describes how he felt when other players on the team brought their wives and girlfriends to the game, but how he had to meet up with his long-time husband after the game, out of the spotlight, was perhaps the most moving for me. I would highly recommend this book for anyone that is looking for an inspirational story. It is a story of struggle, of isolation, of courage, and by the end a story of peace and acceptance.


Interesting reading, but he really sugar coated some of the bad things he's done in his life (drugs, crime). I was happy to read he found someone and started a family, and seemed content, then I went to Wikipedia and learned they broke up and he was arrested for domestic violence. Oh well.

Gary F

Ine of the most honest and interesting sports memoirs I have read in a while. Very highly recommended.

Often Partisan

Maybe more of a 2.5/5. I think that I should say that I have no interest in the NFL. I only read this book because of the homosexuality element, and even then as a rule I don't read sports autobiographies. I just say this to point out that there may well be a 'not my cup of tea' element to my opinion on the book. This book seemed a bit disjoined at times and seemed to jump around in time randomly, and in places to became a bit tricky to keep track of the narrative. (For example, certain sections about his childhood are not included until later, and they felt out of place where they were inserted). Other than this, the book was generally easy enough to read, but I also think that it lacked depth in places. Overall, I wouldn't say I disliked it, but there was nothing particularly about the book that made me like or love it.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *