Short question: Are America's power-purchasing sports viewers prepared to accept a gay former athlete as a product pitchman?
Shorter answer: You bet. Just as long as they don't know it.
Since retiring as an athlete, Esera Tuaolo has begun to live his life.
This is the case of Esera Tuaolo, Hawaii native, erstwhile Oregon State star, NFL lineman who spent nine perfectly fine but otherwise unmemorable seasons with Green Bay, Minnesota, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Carolina.
He retired in 1999 and, in 2002, became briefly a recognizable name on the national sports scene when he publicly acknowledged his homosexuality and attempted to explain the emotional burden, at times nearly unbearable, of keeping that fact hidden during his tenure in largely homophobic locker rooms across America. (You may remember this story if for no other reason than that it prompted San Francisco running back Garrison Hearst to say, "Aww, hell no! I don't want any f------ on my team," when asked about gays in the sport.)
Much more at the above link. I don't follow football as much as I use to and I don't know Tuaolo. Nor do I care how straight people will respond to gay pitchmen.
Posted by ronn at July 9, 2003 01:43 PM