Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011
Posted: 11:14 a.m. Updated: 8:37 p.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
The current issue of Sports Illustrated contains an excerpt from the latest book on Walter Payton and its not very flattering. At all.
In Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton, author Jeff Pearlman chronicles Paytons difficulties in juggling a Hall of Fame induction time that included wife Connie, from whom he was estranged, and a long-time female companion.
Pearlman also details some of the medicating that Payton did both as a player and after his career, including a cocktail of Vicodin and Tylenol as well as his keeping tanks of nitrus oxide in his garage and finding ways to secure Ritalin. Even darker, Pearlman quotes longtime Payton agent Bud Holmes and assistant Ginny Quirk recounting calls from Payton contemplating suicide.
Not a fun read, particularly nearly 12 years after Paytons death. Mixed feelings here: Why trot out all of this at a time when the person isnt alive to defend themselves? Then again, if someone is going to be deified, their feet of clay also can be considered fair game.
On Wednesday the Bears issued a statement regarding Payton:
The Chicago Bears had the unique honor and privilege of having Walter Payton as a part of our organization for over two decades as both a player and board member. We believe his competitive spirit lives with us today. When we take the field each Sunday, we represent the great players like Walter who helped build the rich tradition of our organization. Nothing will change our feelings for a man we have the deepest respect for and miss having around Halas Hall to this day.
Connie Payton and Walter's family also issued a statement:
"Walter, like all of us, wasnt perfect. The challenges he faced were well known to those of us who loved and lived with him. He was a great father to Jarrett and Brittney, and held a special place in the football world and the Chicago community. Recent disclosures some true, some untrue do not change this. Im saddened that anyone would attempt to profit from these stories, many told by people with little credibility. Thank you all for your continued support."
My family & I appreciate all the love & support. At times life gets hard; We will stand up & stay strong!
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.