Ditka lashes out at Walter Payton book author

Sept. 30, 2011 at 2:48 PM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka said he would "spit on" Jeff Pearlman, author of a controversial book on deceased player Walter Payton.

Ditka said Pearlman's book, "Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton," is "despicable" and "serves no purpose," USA Today reported Friday.

The book, which is scheduled for an Oct. 4 release, drew controversy after an excerpt posted online at SI.com revealed the tome alleges Payton abused painkillers and laughing gas as well as claiming the player had a longtime mistress and considered suicide after retiring from the NFL.

Payton died from cancer and liver problems at the age of 45 in 1999.

"What's the point? What's the point? The point is one thing only -- to sell books. That's all it's about. It's a bunch of crap, first of all," Ditka told ESPN.

"If you're going to wait 12 years after somebody's passed, come on," Ditka said. "This is the sign of a gutless individual who would do this. Totally gutless who would hide behind that, and that's what he's done."

When asked about Pearlman, Ditka said: "I'd spit on him. I have no respect for him."

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