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(CBS) – Jarret Payton just wants his dad to be remembered for who he really was.
In September, author Jeff Pearlman released a book that detailed the not-so-glamorous details of Walter Payton’s life. Pearlman chronicled Walter’s extra-marital affairs, battles with depression and drug use.
Though Jarret admitted Pearlman’s comments have been difficult to swallow, he holds no grudges.
“I don’t hold grudges against anybody, and I’m speaking from my heart,” Payton told the Chicago Tribune. “Everybody has a job, to write or do whatever they do to the best of their ability. We all have to feed our families. So I understand that. It’s just hard for me to be 30 years old now and to have your life in a book or in the paper. Some of the stuff was true. Some of it wasn’t.
“It’s hard because someone passed away and is not here to defend himself. But my family and I have gotten so much stronger through everything. We have to really thank the Bears fans here in Chicago because we’ve gotten so much love.”
Jarret discussed his dad’s illness, saying he was so thankful for the love that came from Chicago when his father got sick and ultimately passed away.
“I don’t think my dad knew how much he was loved until he got sick,” Payton said. “I hear stories about my dad every single day. But it takes something like this to see how much he really truly affects people. They truly, truly loved him.
“With every bad, there’s some good. We’ve gotten stronger. As long as my family’s OK, I’m fine. A lot of what’s going on in the last few weeks has just made me reflect on my life and my relationship with my dad. He was my best friend. He really was. He was the best dad in the world because he taught me everything. He taught me to be the person that I am. I’ll take being the person that I am today over any money in the world. My joy and my happiness is the most important thing. And I appreciate my dad for showing me the way.’’