Roy Simmons, retired, gay ex-New York Giant, dies at 57

Feb. 25, 2014 at 2:48 PM

NEW YORK, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Roy Simmons, former New York Giants offensive lineman who announced after his 1984 retirement he was gay and HIV positive, has died, his family said. He was 57.

James Hester, a longtime friend, said he found Simmons' body Thursday in the room Simmons rented in New York. Cause of death has not been determined but Hester said Simmons was hospitalized with pneumonia in November and December 2013.

Simmons, nicknamed "Sugar Bear," played for the Giants from 1979 to 1983 and for the Washington Redskins in 1983.

He kept his homosexuality a secret until he publicly came out on a television program in 1992.

He said he had no choice, telling an interviewer in 2006: "In the NFL, there is nothing worse than being gay. You can beat your wife but you better not be gay."

Former teammate Harry Carson told the New York Daily News Monday: "All the guys in the locker room loved him. We would have accepted him (as openly gay). Nothing would have happened to him."

Simmons moved to San Francisco after his retirement, becoming a homeless prostitute and a drag queen, the newspaper said. He appeared on a religious television show in 2005 and told evangelist Pat Robertson homosexuality is against God's will.

Simmons is survived by a daughter, a grandson and five siblings. Hester said his family is raising money to return Simmons' body to his hometown of Savannah, Ga.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
SB50: Denver Broncos face tough call at QB in 2016
Johnny Manziel's ex-girlfriend claims he hit her
NFLPA hopes to have independent arbitration for player discipline next season
Watch every star-studded Super Bowl commercial of 2016
Group recreates 'Mario Kart' video game at UK mall