By now most of Chicago, and NFL fans as a whole, are aware of the new book set to be released about Walter Payton.
The new book takes one of the most beloved figures in the history of the National Football League and puts a negative spin on him. It outlines Payton’s ‘secret’ life off the field, which relates to drugs, depression, and extramarital affairs.
It’s safe to say that most have spoken out against the book, as it simply looks like a case of the author trying to make a quick buck and destroy the image of a player that many in the city of Chicago would identify as not only one of the best players to ever put on a uniform, but was one of the best people off the field, at least in the public eye. After all, what sense does it make to release this book now?
For those that feel that way about Jeff Pearlman‘s new book, you are not alone. In fact, if there’s a guy you want on your side in relation to anything, it’s Mike Ditka. Ditka had a few choice words for the author and his new book.
In describing the pending release of “Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton”, Ditka used words like “pathetic” and “despicable”. He even went as far as saying that he would spit on the author if he were to see him, stating that he has “no respect for him”.
It should come as a surprise to no one that Walter Payton wasn’t perfect. After all, what professional athlete is? The cheating on his wife, while not at all justified, isn’t so uncommon in professional sports. And after a career where Payton took a beating like he did, it’s hard to be surprised over an addiction to pain medication.
The fact is, Walter Payton still stands as a hero in Chicago, even 10 years after he passed away. Why tarnish it, no matter what types of flaws he might have had away from the field and the public?
It’s impossible to be considered one of the “good guys” in sports today. With so many people out there looking to make a quick buck, no one, no matter how idolized they might be, is safe. Look at Lance Armstrong.
One thing is for sure though. No matter the words that Pearlman spews in his new book, it will do little to change the opinion of Walter Payton. For the likes of Mike Ditka, the Payton family, the Chicago Bears organization, and possibly the city of Chicago, Payton will always be “Sweetness”.