Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Book Review: Out of Bounds
2006-03-01

This article shared 4865 times since Wed Mar 1, 2006
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Out of Bounds: Coming Out of Sexual Abuse, Addiction, and My Life of Lies in the NFL Closet, By Roy Simmons with Damon DiMarco in collaboration with David Fisher and Jimmy Hester

Carroll & Graf, Hardcover,$25

No matter how talented he might have been on the field, Roy Simmons will always be remembered as the second National Football League ( NFL ) football player to come out of the closet ( in 1992 ) and the first to disclose his HIV-positive status ( in 2003 ) . In Out of Bounds, his always-compelling—and frequently harrowing—autobiography, Simmons comes clean about the toll that living a lie and keeping too many secrets has taken on his life.

Those expecting a book full of game plays, football statistics and edited highlights will be in for a shock. While such elements inevitably are part of Out of Bounds, they take a back seat to the often lurid details of Simmons' many addictions and the consequences of his actions. He's not shy about describing his sexual exploits with men or some of the stuff he saw going on ( or participated in ) in gay bathhouses in the '70s and '80s. Nor does he hold back his language, using the 'S' word liberally and dropping 'F' bombs like a Nazi plane over London during the Blitz.

Simmons unflinchingly chronicles his descent into crack addiction, poverty, self-prostitution and criminal behavior, as well as his efforts at sobriety and his frequent relapses. It's brutally frank and sincere in expressing his sorrow for causing so much pain to his family, friends and lovers, and for squandering his talent at football. 'How on earth could I have thrown all that away for some bottles of liquor, a few one-night stands, and some goddamn brown dust that you have to buy in secret on street corners?' he laments.

He also relates how he grew up dirt poor in Savannah, Ga.—raised by his strict grandmother while his mother worked out of state to support her family. His father wasn't part of the family, but could usually be found in one of the local dives. When Simmons was 11, a neighbor's husband raped him and essentially got away with the crime because, back in 1967, such things were not discussed. He acknowledges that this 'was probably the beginning of my lifelong tendency to keep secrets,' such as his sexual orientation, his multiple sex partners of both genders and the extent of his addictions.

The chapters on Simmons' NFL days on the Giants and Redskins chronicle a never-ending series of parties, orgies, drug binges and worse. Although he played in Super Bowl XVIII, he and his teammates were so wasted from partying the night before, that 'we got our asses waxed.' Nor does he shy away from detailing some of his ex-teammates' excessive behavior. As he notes, ' [ i ] n the NFL, you can be a wife-beater, you can do drugs, get piss-ass drunk and wreck your car, sleep with as many groupies as you want behind your wife's back, and destroy private property whenever you went on a rampage ... . A man who played professional football could get away with pretty much anything, but never—under any circumstances whatsoever—could you announce that you were gay.' This homophobic double standard, among other issues, caused Simmons to take a year off from professional football, a move that may have saved his sanity, but essentially cost him his career.

Admittedly, a good deal of the fascination in reading Out of Bounds is of the same horrified, thank-God-it-wasn't-me variety that one gets while rubbernecking a multiple-vehicle accident or watching a sporting event gone wrong. After all, the book abounds with such incidents, starting with Simmons selling the contents of his apartment—and most of his roommate's possessions—to finance his latest crack binge! Indeed, while Simmons seems genuinely sincere in expressing his remorse for such heinous deeds, there's an odd, underlying sense of boastfulness about it all.

That being said, there is a foundation of hope and optimism deep beneath the strata of Simmons' tragic tale, as well as fierce condemnation of the homophobia that forms the bedrock of so much of American society and damages everyone to some degree. It allowed a neighbor to get away with raping a young man, and it caused this young man to grow into a damaged celebrity who was good at throwing a pigskin but even better at throwing his fortune away on crack and booze. Nor does Simmons comfort readers with the illusion of a happy ending, admitting that he could very easily relapse, but hoping that his revelations will keep temptation at bay or persuade others to seek treatment for their addictions.


This article shared 4865 times since Wed Mar 1, 2006
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Activist Peter Staley's Memoir 'Never Silent' is a real-life thriller 2021-10-13
--From marksking.com - "Attention must be paid to such a man." Arthur Miller Peter Staley's much-anticipated new memoir, Never Silent, opens with almost unbearable nail-biting suspense, sweeping us into the behind-the-scenes machinations of an ACT UP takeover of ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son 2020-10-22
- By Richie Jackson $24.99; Harper; 163 pages Like father, like son. When you were small, people said you looked just like your dad. As you grew up, they said you had his sense of humor or his temper, you laughed alike, ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw 2020-08-18
- By Charles Leerhsen $28; Simon & Schuster; 304 pages That man there? He's just a nice guy. Kind and generous, respectful and friendly, he's a true gentleman, and he's never judgmental. He loves children and animals, ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man 2020-07-21
- By Mary L. Trump, Ph.D. $28; Simon and Schuster; 227 pages. You hadn't seen that container in ages. You really can't remember when you put it on the shelf. Sometime this year, six years ago, when ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Calamity: The Many Lives of Calamity Jane 2020-05-25
- You can call yourself whatever you want. Nobody says you can't have a different name every day, if that's your wish. Reinvent your life, create a new past, change your birth year, and tell new stories, ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW An Indefinite Sentence: A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex 2020-04-15
- Coming out was difficult enough. Even if everyone supported you and very little changed, you changed; still, though you had doubts and fear, it was something you had to do. Now read the new book An ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Ian McKellen: A Biography 2020-03-17
- Author: Garry O'Connor. $29.99; St. Martin's Press; 356 pages Any old stick would do. When you were a child, that's what it took to become a wizard: a stick became a makeshift wand, an old towel ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW The Trans Generation 2020-03-08
- By Ann Travers $25; New York University Press; 261 pages Boy or girl? That's a common enough question, if you're an expectant parent. You might've even wondered it yourself: will you need pink things or blue, ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Headcase: LGBTQ Writers and Artists on Mental Health and Wellness 2020-03-02
- Edited by Stephanie Schroeder and Teresa Theophano. $29.95; Oxford University. Press; 287 pages You had a flu shot this year. You watch your cholesterol, eat better, stay active, and brush twice a day. So why do ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy 2020-01-22
- By Hallie Lieberman, $26.95; Pegasus Books; 359 pages Double-A. It has many uses, that little word-dash-letter. It's good for future baseball players. Good for a pre-teen girl. Great, if you're a student trying to bring those ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Toil & Trouble 2019-12-24
- By Augusten Burroughs $27.99; St. Martin's Press; 320 pages Halloween is over this year, but not for you. Your decorations are still up because the season is young. There's plenty of time left for skeletons, monsters, ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston 2019-11-26
- Author: Robyn Crawford. $28; Dutton; 319 pages You saw that coming. It was easy to anticipate because the signs were there. It was plain as day, couldn't have been easier to see if it was flashing ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW The Island of No Secrets and Other Stories 2019-10-01
- By Lou Dellaguzzo. $13; Lethe Press; 243 pages Island of No Secrets and Other Stories is a book of short stories that aim to portray what it meant to be queer in the United States in the 1970s. While the time ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Sage Sapien, From Karma to Dharma 2019-09-17
- By Johnson Chong, $24.95; Koehler Books; 172 pages It's never clear who exactly Sage Sapien: From Karma to Dharma is for. The book, written by yoga impresario Johnson Chong, leans toward a number of potential audiences—yoga ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Taken by the Wind 2019-09-17
- By Ellen Hart, $25.99; Minotaur Books; 320 pages Your bag was packed. There wasn't much in it except for the necessities: your two favorite toys, a clean T-shirt, the stuffed animal you couldn't sleep without, and ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.