(This story was published in 2006).
Former NFL player Roy Simmons, one of only three pro football players to publicly say they’re gay, went on Howard Stern’s radio show on Sirius satellite on Thursday and gave some football analysis you’ll never hear on a network telecast.
Stern gave Simmons the names John Elway, Dan Marino and Joe Montana and told him he’d have to play "kill, fuck, marry." Simmons' choices, without elaborating, were: "Kill Elway. Fuck Marino. Marry Montana." The choices were met with approval by Stern and his sidekick Artie Lang, a big Giants fan.
Simmons, who works as a counselor in a Long Island halfway house, was also asked if he would “do” either quarterback Joe Namath or Phil Simms (his former teammate with the Giants). Namath, Simmons said. Stern added that he would also do Namath if he was gay.
Simmons, 49, is promoting his new book, “Out of Bounds. Coming Out of Sexual Abuse, Addiction, and My Life of Lies in the NFL Closet.” I just got a review copy and on the first page Simmons talks about “doing” a guy named Mike who had a Winnebago where he “kept a shitload of crack balled up in a lump of wax paper on the kitchenette counter.”
The book goes from there into accounts of sex parties, gin and Quaalude binges, copious amounts of cocaine, dressing in drag, and being a prostitute for $15 to $20 a pop. It’s a sure thing Simmons won’t be nominated for NFL Man of the Year.
“I guess I wasn’t really your average stoned-out crackhead,” Simmons writes. “In fairness to myself, most crackheads can’t say they ever played professional football. They can’t say they played in a Super Bowl, can’t say they were ever picked in an NFL draft or did battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive line in front of 75,000 screaming fans. They can’t say they’ve been on national television, under bright lights, playing tag with the big men, making huge salaries and working out endorsement deals with international sportswear companies. I had my up time. The average crackhead knows nothing but down. I had my up time and I chose to do nothing with it. I let it slip away like I’d let of everything else in my life. My fiancée. My child. My family. Myself.”
On Stern, Simmons estimated that each NFL team had “one or two” gay players, though that’s just his guess. He encouraged any gay NFL player to contact him and that he would keep their confidence. Along with Simmons, only former players Dave Kopay and Esera Tuaolo have come out as gay. Simmons said that with the Giants he had sex with a fellow player he would not name.
Simmons, an offensive lineman with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins from 1979-84, came out as gay on the Phil Donahue show in 1992, then promptly disappeared. No more stories would appear about Simmons for the next 11 years until the New York Times published an article where Simmons revealed that he is HIV-positive; was raped by a neighbor when he was 11; was in drug rehabilitation twice for drugs and alcohol and has been sober since; once came close to jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge and was homeless for a brief time.
Simmons told Stern he is now celibate, but I wish Stern had asked him about his appearance about a year ago on the “700 Club,” the religious network run by Pat Robertson, where he said he had found the Lord, was baptized and referred to his “former lifestyle.” "[My pastor and I] spoke on and learned about homosexuality and the connotations and everything that go along with it. It's really against God’s will," Simmons said on the show.
"Thank God for Jesus, for Him dying for my sins. On a daily basis, I can go to Him in prayer and just put it out there and be honest about it," Simmons said. "Coming into the fold, coming into the knowledge of God, just how wonderful and great He is and powerful, and feeling the love of Jesus – it’s a beautiful feeling."
I wrote Simmons’ manager and best friend Jimmy Hester last year to see if Simmons was now claiming he is not gay and that there’s something wrong with being homosexual. I never got a reply. Simmons told Stern that while he once claimed that being raped as an 11-year-old made him gay, he is no longer asserting that, but is undergoing therapy and is "still a work in progress."