I know there is a contingent of Bears fans that don’t want to have anything to do with Jeff Pearlman’s new book about Walter Payton, and I respect that.
It’s a complicated issue. One’s opinion must hinge on the question: does anyone have the right to dig into anyone’s personal life and write a 500 page book about what they found? If it’s your opinion that they don’t, that’s your opinion, and I try to respect everyone’s opinion. But if anyone is of the opinion that it was wrong for Pearlman to delve into the personal life of Payton, then I must deduce that opinion is based on the belief that tomes on the private lives of John F. Kennedy, Babe Ruth and others are also wrong. I liked today’s article by Rick Morrissey of the Sun-Times that I believe accurately sums up my feelings.
I don’t feel this way. I am interested in reading Pearlman’s book. And I just received my review copy yesterday (now I know why, the book was officially released today). If when I’m done reading it I feel that the author unfairly trashed Payton as a bad guy without writing on his positive qualities, I’ll say so. But I don’t think that will be the case.
As I wrote before, in our society, like it or not, the lives of celebrities are open books. I’m not necessarily saying I like that fact, but it is a fact. As I also stated before, I bet many players from the 1980′s are glad as hell that they don’t live in the media age of today, as they were fortunate to (I’m sure) get away with things they never could under today’s media microscope.
Mike Ditka recently stated he’d spit on Pearlman if he could. Reminds me that a very controversial biography on Ditka was published prior to the 1992 season (Armen Keteyian’s Ditka: Monster of the Midway) and I thought that was a fantastic read, as much as Ditka hated it.
I’ll make sure to post my thoughts. A 500-page book with my schedule may take a month to get through, but probably not. Or hell, just read it yourself!