Payton Biography Upsets Former Bears Coach Mike Ditka


The backlash to Jeff Pearlman’s book on Walter Payton continues to mount, and Mike Ditka is leading the charge. The former Bears coach says of Pearlman, “I’d spit on him. I have no respect for him.”

There have been other similar reactions to Pearlman’s Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton since an excerpt went online this week at 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.”
In particular, Ditka took issue with dredging up this side of Payton’s life so long after he died from cancer and liver problems.
“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.”
Source: USA Today | Tom Weir

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