I’ve always liked and respected Mike Ditka, but now it’s a borderline man crush after seeing how pissed off he was about the Walter Payton book that’s coming out soon. I’d love to see coach Ditka and author Jeff Pearlman in the same room together.
I know the author is denying that it’s a money play to put some controversial stuff in the book, but that’s exactly what it is! If it’s not then why is it in the book in the first place? Why was that part of the book used as the teaser content for people to see? I don’t know whether any of it is true or not, but it’s without a doubt a money play!
There have been other similar reactions to Pearlman’s Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton since an excerpt went online this week at SI.com. The book will be released Oct. 4, and in it Pearlman quotes Payton’s agent Bud Holmes and others while detailing the NFL Hall of Famer’s alleged abuse of pain-killers and laughing gas.
Pearlman also reports Payton had a longtime mistress, and that he often contemplated suicide after retiring. Payton died in 1999, at the age of 45.
“Pathetic. Despicable. It serves no purpose,” Ditka told NBC Chicago.
In another interview, with ESPN 1000 in Chicago, Ditka said, “What’s the point? What’s the point? The point is one thing only — to sell books. That’s all it’s about. It’s a bunch of crap, first of all.”
“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.”
Ditka added that, “I have a lot of questions about the authenticity of the book.”
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who was Payton’s teammate on the Bears, also told ESPN 1000 that, “It’s unfortunate somebody wrote a book and throws that kind of light on somebody who’s not here to defend himself . . . I think it’s a shame.”