Former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka says he would spit on the author who wrote the Walter Payton biography “Sweetness” if he ever saw him.
“Pathetic. Despicable. It serves no purpose,” Ditka told NBC Chicago.
What has Ditka angry is the fact that author Jeff Pearlman held nothing back in the biography. He writes candidly about Payton’s drug use, premarital affairs and depression. From the excerpts released last week, he holds nothing back.
“It hurts me that this will hurt his kids,” Pearlman told Sports Illustrated. “That said, I set out to write a definitive biography – period. When people would ask, ‘Well, is this going to be positive?’ I’d say, ‘Not positive, not negative – definitive.”
The fact that Pearlman even mentions that he knows this will hurt Payton’s children makes you wonder why he felt it necessary to write the biography to begin with.
“Walter, like all of us, wasn’t perfect,”a statement issued and signed “Connie Payton and family” read. “The challenges he faced were well known to those of us who loved and lived with him. He was a great father to Jarrett and Brittney and held a special place in the football world and the Chicago community. Recent disclosures – some true, some untrue – do not change this. I’m saddened that anyone would attempt to profit from these stories, many told by people with little credibility.”
Mike Ditka had harsher words for the author.
“If you’re going to wait 12 years after somebody’s passed, come on,” Ditka said. “This is the sign of a gutless individual who would do this. Totally gutless who would hide behind that, and that’s what he’s done.”
Pearlman defended himself further from the criticism leveled at him after Ditka’s statement.
“This will come off as a money play, so let me put that to rest: Go to the library. Skim at the book shop. Borrow from a friend,” Pearlman said. “I don’t care how you read Sweetness, but if you’re someone screaming and yelling, ‘How dare you! How dare you!’ I encourage you to take in 460 pages, not seven.”
Will you read Sweetness? Let me know in the comment section.
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