Thursday, September 29, 2011

Payton Book Stirs Up Some Dust

Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton is a new book by Jeff Pearlman. Although the book has not yet published, it is getting plenty of buzz because the media has cherry-pit picked a few things from Payton's life that many of his fans (if true) would have preferred die in the Confessional box. In today's media market, it's hard to make a living without casting some dirt around. There are a lot more haters than lovers on the Internet and there is an absolute army of critics that attack most everything from both the right and left side of the fence--whether you are talking about politics, religion, education, or most everything else.

Some have suggested that the book may be a well-balanced account of Walter's life, but I guess we won't have a clue until the book is out and read. Ultimately it's the Man upstairs who will have a well-balanced account of Walter Payton life. I don't think He's sharing it right now.

I think in the end, little will change in light of the book, in fact Payton's legacy may burn even brighter when more people are exposed to all the good that he did and his courage during his illness. I'd guess most sports fans will not read the book at all, if anything they will probably read the "Cliff Notes" that will be coming out in Sports Illustrated. Just what the SI article focuses on may have more impact than the book itself.

It's always interesting when you think of how the average person's little victories and failings would put most people to sleep, but somehow when a celebrated person's life is examined, we are all-ears.

The Bears issued a statement in response to publicity on the book:

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 her family also released a statement that essentially says what's being said in the book (true or false) changes nothing for them--they love Walter and he was a great dad.

I think most Bear fans would say the same thing--the book changes nothing.


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