Blog Entry

Payton's son doesn't hold grudge against Pearlman

Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:58 pm
PaytonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With the new biography on Walter Payton, written by Jeff Pearlman, still generating controversy, the Chicago Tribune went to Payton’s son, Jarrett Payton, to talk about the newest NFL Network documentary on Payton.

And, of course, Pearlman’s book, which reported that Payton abused pain-killers, talked of suicide and had extramarital affairs.

But Payton doesn’t hold any ill will toward Pearlman.

"I don’t hold grudges against anybody, and I’m speaking from my heart," Payton told the newspaper. "Everybody has a job, to write or do whatever they do to the best of their ability. We all have to feed our families. So I understand that. It’s just hard for me to be 30 years old now and to have your life in a book or in the paper. Some of the stuff was true. Some of it wasn't.

"It’s hard because someone passed away and is not here to defend himself. But my family and I have gotten so much stronger through everything. We have to really thank the Bears fans here in Chicago because we’ve gotten so much love."

During a recent chat with, Pearlman talked about writing a book of this nature, knowing that some of the revelations would
the life of Payton
upset the family.

“I always feel bad about it,” Pearlman said. “I feel worse about it when the book is about to come out. It all feels really hypothetical when you’re working on the book. It’s always a year or two away from coming out. It feels so far away. When the book is about to come out, you realize that real people are about to be hurt. They’re going to be sad, shocked, disillusioned. But your ultimate job is to write a definitive, all-encompassing biography about something. That’s the whole person. It’s not another ass-kiss to an athlete. Not a sports book but a life book. If it was about my dad, I’d be really hurt by that. But as a biogprapher, you’re sensitive to those feelings. You’d  be doing a huge disservice to the biographers.

"There are times in this process when you really question whether this is what you should be doing. It’s certainly not my goal to damage people or make people feel horrible. I always ask this of my wife: “Am I doing something that can be justified?”

Even with the controversy that was generated by an excerpt that ran in Sports Illustrated, the Payton book has received plenty of positive reviews by people who have the entire tome. And it's good to know that Jarrett Payton feels OK about it.

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Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: October 14, 2011 5:06 pm

Payton's son doesn't hold grudge against Pearlman

What I question is the timing of the book.It won't tarnish my thinking of the greatest RB of all time in my book. This comes from a lifetime Packer fan too.Much respect..

Since: Sep 25, 2007
Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:27 pm

Payton's son doesn't hold grudge against Pearlman

So writing a book of this sort now accomplishes what?  If the author feels as strongly about the things he has written about as the publicity he has goten for it, I would ask him to share his profits with the Payton Foundation which does have a clear record of helping others.  None of us are perfect and I'm sure Walter Payton was guilty of some of the allegations in the book but when there is no chance of getting the facts from the horses mouth, it just seems wrong to write a book like this 10 years later.  Maybe he can jump back on the Ted Williams family and see where it takes him.

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