When Esera Tuaolo played for the Green Bay Packers in the 1990s, he was deep in the closet, fearful that he would not have a job if it were known he was gay. Fast forward to 2014 and Tuaolo, who has been out since 2003, was picked to sing the National Anthem at the Packers' home opener against the Jets as part of the team's alumni celebration.
"It was an amazing feeling to walk into that stadium as an openly proud gay man," Tuaolo wrote on Facebook. "When I played for the Green Bay Packers in 1991 and 1992 I walk on that field with FEAR, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, STRESS and SUICIDE TENDENCIES. Last Sunday [Sept. 14] I walked into that stadium with a little fear. The fear was not about me being gay, the fear was about me singing the Nation Anthem on its 200th birthday.. haha Big difference. I want to thank the Green Bay Packers for the opportunity and also I want to thank the Packer nation for welcoming me home."
Tuaolo does a great job with his rendition and the crowd gives him (and the song) a rousing ovation. Thanks to former Nebraska player Eric Lueshen for taking the video: