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Out of Bounds: Coming out of Sexual Abuse, Addiction, and My Life of Lies in the NFL Closet
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Out of Bounds: Coming out of Sexual Abuse, Addiction, and My Life of Lies in the NFL Closet

by Roy Simmons, David Fisher, Damon Dimarco (With), Jimmy Hester, Damon DiMarco
 

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When New York Giants coach Ray Perkins stated, "Roy Simmons just might be the best athlete on this football team," no one could have guessed that in just four years, Simmons would earn his living as a baggage handler at Kennedy Airport. The second NFL player ever to come out as gay and the first ever to come out as HIV-positive, Simmons was an up-and-coming star

Overview


When New York Giants coach Ray Perkins stated, "Roy Simmons just might be the best athlete on this football team," no one could have guessed that in just four years, Simmons would earn his living as a baggage handler at Kennedy Airport. The second NFL player ever to come out as gay and the first ever to come out as HIV-positive, Simmons was an up-and-coming star who quit football after just four years rather than be exposed as gay. Out of Bounds tells his story — from his rape at age 10 to being plucked from his poor Southern background to join the NFL, from his first taste of pro football fame and sudden enormous wealth to his fast-paced, no holds barred nightlife of heavy drugs and countless sexual encounters with women and men. Simmons roller-coaster life peaked in the late 1980s with his appearance in the Superbowl. Ultimately, reckless living left him penniless, friendless, and on the brink of suicide. Finally in 1992, he tapped the courage to come out as gay on national TV, and as HIV-positive 10 years later — an act which set him on the path towards sobriety and self-acceptance.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Though the world has changed in many ways for gay men, it is still not safe to be an out gay man while an active player in the four major professional sports of football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. It's striking how similar these two books on this subject are. Tuaolo, with journalist Rosengren (Blades of Glory) and Simmons, with Dimarco (Tower Stories: The Autobiography of September 11, 2001), have written heartfelt memoirs of their lives in the NFL and their experience of being gay in such a homophobic environment. Both came from very impoverished backgrounds, were found to have athletic talent at a young age, and made significant contributions to their teams. Tuaolo is of Samoan ancestry and Simmons is African American. While playing ball, they each had to manage what to them was a shameful secret; they were constantly profoundly afraid of discovery. Both stories are captivating, and most readers won't be able to put these books down. Though co-written with others, they have a conversational style that captures the individual voices of the men as they tell their own stories. Simmons is particularly harrowing in relating his descent into the grimy life of drug addiction. Eventually, with the help of some incredibly loyal friends, he overcame those horrors, even appearing on the Phil Donahue Show, only to go back to his addiction. He writes movingly of his reconnections with his family, even as he reports that his struggle has not ended. Though he, too, had a demon in alcohol, Tuaolo's story ends with him happily attached to a mate and adopted children. Readers interested in sports or gay biography will get their money's worth.-David Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Libs., Philadelphia Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The former pro footballer's life story is full of raw vitality that too often found auto-combustive expression-before, during and after his days in the NFL. As long as he can remember, Simmons declares, he's had big appetites. As a kid, he could run and play sports all day long, eat through the table and enjoy sex with both boys and girls. By the time he was a star lineman at Georgia Tech (he would go on to play for the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins), he applied the same verve to booze and drugs. He was circumspect about his sexuality ("if you play things cool and don't rub people's faces in your shit, they'll let you get away with just about anything"), but never honest about it: "Roz didn't care about Sheila and Sheila didn't know about Roz . . . nobody but nobody knew about Joe, so that was perfect." The threads of Simmons's life were woven from strands of deceit and self-delusion. He became addicted to crack, lost his professional football job and everything unraveled. Spending hundreds of dollars on drugs each day was one thing when he was making more than $100,000 a year, something else when he was pulling down $11 an hour as a youth supervisor. Simmons recounts his experiences, which include sexual abuse in his youth, with shuddering candor. He abandoned his child, was in and out of jail for petty crimes committed to support his drug habit and may even have killed a crack dealer who pulled a knife on him: "Maybe the guy walked away from the whole thing . . . I don't know." You can almost hear the sigh as he writes, "You try and you try," reflecting on the intense grind of sobriety and relapse, over and again. Blisteringly honest portrait of a man fencing with hisself-destructive instincts.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786719099
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
11/28/2006
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author


Roy Simmons is only one of three former NFL players to publicly disclose his homosexuality. An offensive lineman with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins from 1979-84, he came out as gay on television in 1992. Simmons works as a supervisor in a Long Island drug halfway house.

Damon DiMarco is the author of Tower Stories: The Autobiography of September 11, 2001. He's currently on the faculty of Drew University and lives in New York.

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