'He's a bad guy:' Author Jeff Pearlman advises fans to not read his biography of Brett Favre after release of text messages

JR Radcliffe
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre. By Jeff Pearlman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 448 pages. $28.

Jeff Pearlman, who published a comprehensive biography of Green Bay Packers icon Brett Favre, had some scathing words for Favre on social media Tuesday, telling fans to outright not read the book.

Pearlman, who's written nine sports-themed New York Times bestsellers, penned "Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre" in 2016, and his comments came in the immediate aftermath of the release of text messages between Favre and disgraced Mississippi nonprofit executive Nancy New.

New has pled guilty to 13 felony counts relating to a scandal in which $77 million in funds from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families were improperly siphoned elsewhere in Mississippi.

The 2017 exchange seemed to imply that Favre was aware funds were being improperly routed to his pursuits, including fundraising for volleyball facility at his alma mater of Southern Miss, where his daughter played volleyball. Favre expressed relief that then-governor Phil Bryant was on board for the deal.

According to Isabel Gonzalez of CBS Sports: 

Favre has already been questioned by the FBI and has repaid $1.1 million that was reportedly given to him for motivational speeches he did not give. The money he received was part of approximately $77 million in funds from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Allegedly, $5 million went to the volleyball stadium project. Favre still owes $228,000 in interest and could be taken to court by the state of Mississippi if he does not pay in full.

Mississippi Today's comprehensive report also unearthed text messages from Bryant that showed further cooperation with Favre.

Pearlman called Favre's actions "monstrous" and included a graphic of a Favre jersey burning in a trashcan with his string of tweets telling people to not read his biography.

"On the day of extended Favre revelations, I wanna share something: I wrote a biography of the man that was largely glowing," Pearlman wrote on Twitter. "Football heroics, overcoming obstacles, practical joker, etc. Yes, it included his grossness, addictions, treatment of women. But it was fairly positive. And, looking at it now, if I'm being brutally honest — I'd advise people not to read it. He's a bad guy. He doesn't deserve the icon treatment. He doesn't deserve acclaim. Image rehabilitation. Warm stories of grid glory. His treatment of @jennifersterger was ... inexcusable. 

"And now—taking money that was designated to help poor people in HIS STATE, and funneling it to build (checks notes) A [expletive] VOLLEYBALL ARENA (!?!?!?) is so grotesque, so monstrous. I don't know how someone like that looks in the mirror. I just don't. So, sincerely, don't buy the book, don't take it out from the library. Leave it. There are sooooo many better people worthy of your reading hours. Of your time. I prefer crumbs like Brett Favre shuffle off into the abyss, shamed by greed and selfishness."

Pearlman's other books include "Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s," the book that served as the central text upon which the 2022 HBO series "Winning Time" was based.

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JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

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