Gay Retired NFL Player Roy Simmons Dies at 57
Former NFL offensive lineman Roy Simmons, who came out several years after retiring from professional football, died in his apartment in the Bronx, N.Y., last week. He was 57.
Simmons, an offensive lineman, played for the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins over the course of four seasons after being a star player at Georgia Tech.
“People were always throwing things at me,” he said in 2006, according to The Washington Post. “Women threw themselves at me. When I went to a bar, I got complimentary drinks. When I went to the store, I got discounts. All kinds of individuals offered me drugs.”
After a stint with the short-lived U.S. Football League, Simmons moved to San Francisco and was homeless, often resorting to sex work.
Years later, in 1992, Simmons came out on an episode of Phil Donahue's talk show.
“I know I can help stop someone from going through what I went through,” he said in 2006, according to the Post. “I’ve been there. I’ve had two jobs in my life — football and running. Mostly running.”
Five years after publicly coming out, Simmons learned that he was HIV-positive. He reportedly died due to complications related to pneumonia, according to the Times.