45 Comments
  • cc

    powerful, i guess no way to know if it sells to your hopes or not, but great writing/reporting/researching. congrats.

    September 28, 2011at5:30 pm Reply
  • Tom Endowene

    Congrats on making a beloved hero. Who has saved and helped many lives. A villian! Congrats!

    September 28, 2011at7:14 pm Reply
  • PB

    Hey Jeff…

    Wow – take pot shots at the dead guy to sell some books and make a buck? You’re the epitome of DOUCHE BAG. Hope you get your ass kicked at your book signing.

    September 28, 2011at7:37 pm Reply
  • Bobby Fetter
    September 28, 2011at8:04 pm Reply
  • Duncan Idaho

    Awesome! Big congrats to you on this…I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and know how much this book means to you. Great to see it coming out and going well after such an intense effort on your part.

    September 28, 2011at8:27 pm Reply
  • Brian

    The vast majority of the commentators on the ESPN article are supporting Payton; in addition, many go on to trash Pearlman. Are they so enamored with Payton that they can’t withstand even the slightest criticism which does not exault him?

    Nonetheless, looking forward to the book, Jeff. Definitely picking up my copy next week.

    September 28, 2011at9:03 pm Reply
    • Jill Dockery

      Have you ever dealt with death of a loved one? Is it really fair that the man has been dead for 12years and he cannot defend himself. Is John Pearlman perfect? I don’t know what to think about the release of this book. Ihope Bears fans boycott it.

      September 29, 2011at2:50 am Reply
      • Jill Dockery

        I mean that its rediculous to trash people with words of hearsay. I dare you to try and put a book signing in Chicago. Many Bears fans will rain on your parade. I hope Sports Illustrated fires your ass. You are soooooooooooooo mean. I bet you cheat on your wife and addicted to meth.

        September 29, 2011at2:59 am Reply
      • Brian

        Yes, I have dealt with the death of a loved one. I do not see how such is relevant to this discussion.

        Your point regarding the “fairness”(or, rather, lack thereof) of Payton not able to defend himself is nonsensical. Jeff (not John) Pearlman did not attack Payton; he sought to write a comprehensive biography. And, over the course of his research, he uncovered certain details of Payton’s life that conflict with Payton’s public image.

        September 29, 2011at5:25 pm Reply
      • cyndi

        A Boycott is underway on Facebook and that could really bit his book in it its trashy a$$! My dad and Walter died in the same year, a horrible painful death. My dad loved WP and I was hearing Sweetness for years. 12 yrs after his death is not a time to reopen the wounds of his family and dump a truckload of salt in their wounds! Shame on this clueless man. Chicago fans are gonna make him miserable.

        September 30, 2011at1:49 pm Reply
  • Lui Rhodes

    Another caucasian making a dime off a black man’s blood, sweat and tears. Scum.

    September 28, 2011at9:08 pm Reply
    • Jill Dockery

      I’m a caucasion and I totally agree with you. Noone should be able to do that against him. I hope that his family sues Pearlman for harassment.

      September 29, 2011at3:01 am Reply
      • Marty

        congrats on being caucasian, Jill! Although, if I must say, I wish your White Person status should be revoked for considering yourself ‘caucasian’. Just say you’re white.

        September 29, 2011at5:14 am Reply
  • jERREAL

    Why try and show someone in a bad light. Walter worked hard keeping his private life private. What is the purpose? To hurt his family? Kids? Open old wounds for the spouse. I wouldnt read garbage like this and will encourage my friends to do likewise

    September 28, 2011at9:15 pm Reply
    • Dylan

      Yeah, youre right, I truly think jeff was going to write a book and thought, ‘you know who could use some hurt? the payton family.’ people are stupid.

      October 1, 2011at7:58 pm Reply
  • joe

    Mr. Pearlman,

    For what purpose other than to make money, are you defaming a man who is more than ten years dead? Whether or not 100% of the slime you print is true, you are still a scumbag. I hope someday someone goes through the skeletons in your closet and prints it for all to see. You are a creep of the greatest magnitude, sir.

    September 28, 2011at9:27 pm Reply
  • Asherdan

    Man, I hope this book moves for Jeff but I don’t know. Overcoming the public image with honesty and research is going to be a hard climb. What I’ve read here and elsewhere so far makes it out to be an interesting and detailed read, but I worry that not enough time has lapsed for this open of an examination of Payton to gain acceptance.

    September 28, 2011at10:00 pm Reply
    • Brandon St. Germain

      What You Are Is Another Payton, And Just Bad WIll Person, Looking for The Dollar. Jeff Should Have Never Written This Book And No One Should Buy it. Let Me Write a Book on You From 10 Years Ago and Lets Bring All Your Bads And Lay Them Out. But the only Difference is You Could Respond Payton Can’t and Won’t.

      September 28, 2011at10:52 pm Reply
  • Brandon St. Germain

    Hey Jeff, I think you’re a Jerkoff For Even Writing This Book, How Would you Feel If someone Wrote A Book About You about Ten years ago, You Know things Were Different Back Then, And I Think You’re Just Writing This To make A Buck.

    September 28, 2011at10:48 pm Reply
    • Marty

      Payton is a historical figure. Look at any/all biographies out there that have ambition to get things as right as they can. Is there some law out there that says that all biographies have to be written when a person is alive? Oh, wait. Yes. Yes there is because here comes Jill Dockery to say that it won’t stand up in a court of law.

      September 29, 2011at5:17 am Reply
  • Brandon St. Germain

    You’re A F@!*G Basher Jeff, At Least Write about Someone who can Defend Themselfs….

    September 28, 2011at10:54 pm Reply
  • Joe

    I am so rooting for this book to be a success, as I’ve read your blog and felt your passion. Congrats on the cover!

    September 29, 2011at1:51 am Reply
  • Kevin

    first time I have ever posted in my life or even bothered to acknowledge such a despicable piece of garbage. Big deal, a human being had flaws. Shocker. Life is full of good, bad and ugly. Many of us who have a special place for Walter are well aware of some of Pearlmans so called shocking revelations. investigative gossip, slander Tit’s finest or whatever BS you want to call it. I have such little respect for you and can only imagine what people close to you think of you. when you actually made the decision to write this did you actually think you were going to contribute in any positive way to this world or the community of people who knew or admired Walter? Why don’t you just go and write for US Weekly, Page 6 or join a cult.

    September 29, 2011at2:13 am Reply
  • Ron Jozaites

    Mr.(?)Pearlman, nice job waiting long enough to taint the memory of a local sports hero so that seemingly no one can come and give you the beating you deserve.
    When we live a world when our kids have grown up and watched their modern role models and sports heros put on public trial on TV for the use of PED’s, perjury, rape, illegal use of a gun, animal cruelty, etc. Why the heck did you feel it necessary to try and destroy one of the few icons and sports figures and role models who inspired and still does inspire young people? WP was not perfect as none of us are, and perhaps we all know that about these guys. But dredging up his name after all this time, 12 years, to simply defame it, tells me that perhaps you have bigger issues than the rest of us. Could it possibly be that you still regret the experience of growing up and never being good at sports or are you still embarrassed about your public disclosure concerning your fecal matter containing blood that made you write this book? IDUNNO.
    Your legacy as a writer has already been decided, just check Wikipedia you nerd.
    And this will only damn you further in reputation as an ingratiating, jealous, and selfish person who happens to write books. Not as an author.

    September 29, 2011at2:33 am Reply
  • Jill Dockery

    I am sooooooooooooooooooooooo mad abut this book about Payton. How would you like someone to slander your dad after he died? Unfair bullshit, I hope your book burns in the pit of Hell. How dare you do this. Did Payton fuck you up when he was alive? What the fuck is your problem. If you were such a good writer, then you would have the information that you posted but stupid you had to interview people and print bullshit.it’s all hearsay. It won’t stand up in a court of law. Bear Fans do not buy this book boycott it.

    September 29, 2011at2:47 am Reply
  • Sportswriting Refugee

    You people are out of your minds. Grow up. Did you even read the excerpt? Walter Payton was a public figure with flaws. Deal with it. I loved Walter Payton, and I’m going to enjoy getting to know the person.

    September 29, 2011at2:56 am Reply
    • Jill Dockery

      Your not learning about a person you are fed a bunch of interviews. Not cold hard facts. The book has no credibility.

      September 29, 2011at3:05 am Reply
      • Marty

        /blind Bears fan. Get off your moral high horse. You should step back and realize that you’re only doing this because Payton was a Bear. If he was a Lion, Packer, or Viking, you wouldn’t care.

        I happen to LOVE Walter Payton just like you, even though I’m a Pats fan. I want to read the good and the bad. And I imagine when I read Pearlman’s book, I will probably still like the guy, but my perception will be changed since we can look behind the curtain a bit. I got some friends and family members that are alcoholics just like everybody. But guess what? They’re DAMN good people. They’re just flawed. That’s life.

        But no…the American condition people are in today is that people want to be outraged/shocked about something. Anything. And they tend to jump to conclusions. Just like you and a couple others are blindly doing right now.

        September 29, 2011at5:27 am Reply
  • Asherdan

    Tough Words From A guy Who Hasn’t Figured Out How To Type.

    If the truth hurts, whine like a little girl, I guess.

    September 29, 2011at3:11 am Reply
  • Jake

    Karma lurks for you. Enjoy living the rest of your life looking over your shoulder. What do you think should happen? I will celebrate your failure in this book

    September 29, 2011at3:12 am Reply
  • Stephen

    Get over it … he’ researched/wrote it for 3 years … think he just makes stuff up?

    September 29, 2011at3:49 am Reply
  • Brian

    Jeff,

    You’re complete trash! Good luck ever coming to Chicago again. Let’s write a book about a dead guy that can’t defend himself. F-ing scumbag!

    September 29, 2011at5:00 am Reply
  • Marty

    not surprised by the people coming on this blog to blindly bash you and defend Walter Payton & their beloved Bears. They’re not your fans and don’t know what journalism is or even care to look at your respectable body of work. They’re just protecting favorites.

    I liked your previous books on Clemens + Bonds (2 despised guys), so those weren’t really going out on a limb. BOYS WILL BE BOYS was awesome and didn’t really change my perception of the Cowboys, but definitely made them a hell of a lot more memorable than they already were.

    Ha ha…and Walter Payton is so universally & unquestionably loved by all NFL fans, not just Bear fans, that the reaction is hardly surprising. And, unless I’m mistaken, in all your blogs leading up to this it sounded like you actually DO kind of revere Walter Payton in a way and aren’t bashing on him so much as painting a full picture, some good some bad, which those bashing you won’t give the chance. They’ll just notice the bad (and that’s what sells unfortunately and that’s out of your hands).

    I LOVE sites like Deadspin that challenge, sometimes unfairly, the worship & tribute of athletes compared to ESPN’s glorification. And I LOVE biographies like ones that change the way people view complicated guys like Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams. I want to see the full picture of the guy and not some bullshit. They belong to the public, in some way. Especially when they are treated like untouchable myths, which is bullshit.

    If you decided to write a book on Tom Brady/Peyton Manning and it turned out Tom Brady was somehow a dick, the Pat fan in me would be crushed. But you have to stay true and I don’t think you really have an agenda (you did with Bonds/Clemens in a way with the steroids story since you hate it. I don’t care about steroids as much as sportswriters do, but it’s not like you were wrong either)

    Anyways, people are going to hate, threaten you, and say they’ll burn your book suck. That tells me you’re doing something right and anybody who reads you know you’re a respectable writer. Glad you’re not phoning it in and doing bullshit puff pieces the way these people hating on you wish that you would. Keep doing your thing and, while I haven’t read the excerpt or anything on the Walter Payton book yet, I’m really looking forward to it. Congrats on getting this thing done.

    September 29, 2011at5:02 am Reply
    • Michael Daly

      Why wait until now then Marty? Is Jeff Pearlman such an amzing “journalist” than know one has had the talent to crack this story until now? Bonds and Clemmons were stories that broke just as fast as they played out in the news. this is no more than calculated cash grab from some punk hack who looking to create a little buzz for himself. And at the expense of the family of one of the greatest football players to lace’em up.

      September 29, 2011at5:34 pm Reply
      • Marty

        I’m sure when he broke the fact that John Rocker was a racist homophobe, Pearlman was a punk for that too.

        Why wait? No one else really did do a definitive biography of Payton. How many biographies are phoned in, one-sided puff pieces. I didn’t even know Walter Payton had a biography out.

        It’s 100% true that Bonds and ‘Clemmons’ were old stories that nobody cared about (bad for book sales). But find me another person who interviewed 500+ people to get a better sense of the person. There’s some stories that came out that were locked up for years (read BOYS WILL BE BOYS at the shock that Michael Irvin stabbing someone with scissors came out. You think that incident would make me hate Irvin even more as a Cowboys hater, wouldn’t you? Turns out, I walked away from that book REALLY liking Irvin)

        I’m a fan of Payton and I can tell that you are too. But you’re moral outrage is weird to hear. Payton’s legacy hasn’t been destroyed at all. If you can step back you would see that. Because if anything, having a book like this helps make Payton bigger than he was and in the conversation. He matters more now. I don’t know what to say if you can’t see that.

        September 29, 2011at9:45 pm Reply
  • Tim

    To quote Lemmy Killmister: “F**k this ‘Don’t speak ill of the dead’ shit! People don’t become better when they are dead; you just talk about them as if they are. But it’s not true! People are still a**holes, they’re just dead a**holes.”

    Walter Peyton may have been a great football player, but that and the fact that he’s dead don’t make the unsavory things about his life just go away.

    September 29, 2011at5:37 am Reply
  • pt

    if you tell half the story then the book then the book is worthless, and as they say full of half truths – you need to tell the good with the bad – its called balance – there is meant to be over 600 interviews as sources for this book, most would have been candid and spoken on the record – and really its not defamation if its the truth, even if you could defame the dead

    September 29, 2011at9:07 am Reply
  • pat

    Too bad Payton wasn’t the saint that all of these fans want him to be and this notion that a definitive book can’t be written about someone who is deceased is pure hogwash. Let alone no one has even read the entire book. I look forward to reading it ALL, and from what I gather Jeff has done quite an exceptional detective-job, leaving NO stone unturned to give us a true picture of who Payton was. The truth hurts bitches!

    September 29, 2011at12:41 pm Reply
  • Michael Daly

    Why wait until now? your a pc of garbage whos motivies are nothing more than a cheap cash grab. I hope to god you do a book signing in my neck of the woods….

    September 29, 2011at5:29 pm Reply
  • Dave Eldred

    There are two ways to do a biography: definitively, as it appears Mr. Pearlman did, or not at all.

    Frankly, I’d be willing to listen to arguments for “not at all.” At the end of the day, I know far more about the sex lives of famous people than I need or care to know. I’d prefer my sex life stay private should I ever be famous.

    Then again, when you enter the public sphere, you make yourself part of the public’s worldview…and perhaps you open yourself and your life to a degree that those of us who are not famous do not have to worry about.

    What’s the balance? I don’t know.

    Rather than focus the hate on Mr. Pearlman — who, like his work or not, is well-respected for his accuracy — a harder question might be asked of the SI editors who chose to pull out the juiciest bits for excerpt.

    For those pounding on Mr. Pearlman as inaccurate or “not a journalist,” I suggest you find the errors and work to better understand the concept of journalism. Sometimes what a journalist finds is ugly, whether they like it or not. I suspect Mr. Pearlman was hardly doing cartwheels to learn some of the things he did in this assignment.

    September 29, 2011at8:11 pm Reply
  • M2349

    I knew Mr. Payton. He was many things, but He was NOT a drug user or abuser. Did he have flaws, yes, like everyone that is put on this Earth. Unfortunately, it’s people looking to score $$$ and fame at the expenses of others (yes, J. Pearlman, G. Quirk (WP’s assistant), B. Holmes (WP’s lawyer) and K. Tucker (WP’s assistant). What’s unnerving is that Mr. Payton’s attorney and assistants spill all this garbage on Mr. Payton now for what? $$$ ? Fame? I’m surprised Ginny and Kimm forgot to mention how they stole from the Payton family, including Mr. Payton himself. They profited from his death… and it continues today. Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of the Payton family and Mr. Payton (while gone and not able to fight these allegations). Sad.
    While Mr. Payton was not always perfect as you would expect a legend/hero to be … he was a human being who makes mistakes. He told me himself when I was younger… he asked me who was his idol? I told him that he was. What he proceeded to tell me, in a direct manner, that he shouldn’t be. He said that my Dad or Mom should be my idol. That my parents are good people and work hard for me and my family and love me. Just because he can run with a football in front of thousands of fans & be on TV doesn’t make him my idol. What he did, right there and then, made me realize he was human and made me see the big picture of life. He was a good man that loved his family and his wife. He did alot of good. That is the stuff that should be noted and not look to make accusations (which they are & that cannot be repudiated by Mr. Payton himself) to bring a very good person down by lies & negativity … all in the order to sell a book and $$$. It’s sad that the Payton family has to deal with this nonsense. He was a private man…. it should be kept that way.
    Rest in Peace Mr. Payton

    September 29, 2011at9:21 pm Reply
  • M2349

    Re: the write up on Ginny Quirk:
    “and even planned much of his funeral and memorial service” FALSE…did she tell you this Jeff? And you would believe her.
    “Keenly intelligent”: Only you would say, but others would say dumb blonde is more fitting
    “warm”: MORE LIKE COLD-HEARTED TO SELL OUT FOR HER 30 SECS. OF FAME
    “Pearlman’s take: Ginny Quirk was one of the absolute keys to this book, in that she knew Walter better than anyone (literally—anyone. She had a closer relationship with Walter Payton than his wife, his children, his mother”: WAY TO GO JEFFREY… WAY TO DRAG MR PAYTON’S FAMILY DOWN WITH YOUR BRILLIANT JOURNALIST ABILITIES
    -“Ginny had largely remained quiet since Walter’s death”: YES…SHE WAS QUIET ALL RIGHT…SHE WAS TOO BUSY SELLING ALL of Mr. Payton’s memorabilia and capitalizing on his death! And The list could go on……

    I just hope Ginny and Bud and the others that sold out the Payton family and Mr. Payton himself can sleep at night.
    Remember… the burden of Karma is heavy.

    September 29, 2011at10:22 pm Reply
  • Kevin

    “I AM A BEARS FAN AND I AM ANGRY AND I WILL NOW THREATEN JEFF PEARLMAN’S LIVELIHOOD!!” Stay classy, Chicago. I can’t wait to read this book. Even as an Eagles fan, I loved “Boys Will Be Boys”.

    September 30, 2011at6:12 pm Reply
  • Pasadena Dave

    Damn, two weeks ago Jeff Pearlman didn’t even exist.

    October 1, 2011at3:03 pm Reply
  • Tyler

    Mr. Pearlman,

    I feel like people who read your blog and have seen the SI issue about Payton have had a hard time coming to terms with the person they thought they knew. As for your book I wont be reading it. I feel like you’ve written this for a personal profit and not to shine light on who Mr. Payton was. Though you have written what you call the truth, cold hard fact and whatever else it could be called I don’t believe you have to right to do so. What personal relationship did you have to him other then being a sports writer? Did you keep in mind the reopening of wounds to the family? Did you ask yourself how your wife and children would feel if someone did the same as you have done here? I’d love to know the answer to these questions. I’m not mad you wrote the book, Hell I’m not sure I even care that it was written. What I have a concern about is, did you think about the people involved before you decided to make a profit?

    People can comment and be angry but anger doesn’t change a thing. Remember everything that happens in life happens and nothing can change the events in our past or present we can only look to the future to better ourselves as individuals and as a civilization.

    October 1, 2011at4:09 pm Reply
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