A new biography on the life of Walter Payton alleges that the NFL Hall of Famer numbed his maladies by robotically ingesting the painkiller Darvon during his playing days, was involved in extramarital dalliances and fell into a depressed state that included heavy self-medication after his NFL career ended in 1987.
I interviewed Payton in either ’88 or ’89 and found him to be anything but sweet:
After he kept me waiting for an hour, I was finally summoned. Ascending the steps of his customized trailer, I was shaken by the sound of crushing glass, or, in this case, sunglasses. Payton informed me they cost him $275. He sounded as if he expected to be reimbursed.
The interview went even worse. No matter how benign the query, Payton responded with, “Yes, no or I don’t want to talk about that.”
I tried to engage him on some training camp controversy involving ex-teammate Jim McMahon, but that just made him more agitated. “What the hell do you think I’ve got to say about that?” or words to that effect.
As if it wasn’t obvious enough how little regard he held for me, “Sweetness” lifted his leg to emit a loud stream of flatulence. He repeated, twice.
- Walter Payton: New Book Uncovers Troubling Details About One of NFL’s Best Ever (bleacherreport.com)