Brett Favre biographer says not to bother with his book following allegations against ex-NFL player
"Don't read my book" is not something you usually hear a writer say.
But in the wake of the news that former football player Brett Favre allegedly asked to divert welfare funding to build a volleyball court, writer Jeff Pearlman took to Twitter this week to let readers know that they shouldn’t bother with his biography of Favre, “Gunslinger.”
Favre is one of several people being sued by the State of Mississippi, alleging they misspent millions of dollars in welfare money. The former NFL star has not been charged with any criminal offences, and has repaid the money, saying in a post on social media that he didn't know the money came from welfare funds.
The state says Favre still owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest.
The headlines prompted a statement from Pearlman about the book he'd written years ago on the professional athlete.
“On the day of extended Favre revelations, I wanna share something: I wrote a biography of the man that was largely glowing,” Pearlman wrote in a Tuesday thread 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.”
Gunslinger — the full title of which is “The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre: Gunslinger"— came out in 2016. It was Pearlman’s seventh book, and his third biography following a specific figure in sports. The New York Times best-selling sports writer has also written books that follow specific teams.
“Sincerely, don’t buy the book, don’t take it out from the library,” Pearlman wrote Tuesday. “Leave it. There are sooooo many better people worthy of your reading hours."
Pearlman noted in a follow-up thread on Thursday that while his biography of Favre wasn’t a glowing commendation of the man, saying he “dove deep into his addictions, his treatment of women,” he believes now that Favre as a topic does not deserve anyone’s time.
He also stated that he did not interview Favre for the biography, though he spoke to family members, teammates and coaches.
This week, texts between the former football player and a Mississippi governor were released which allegedly show Favre arranging for more than $1 million in welfare money to be funnelled to fund one of his pet projects, a university volleyball facility.
The texts showed that Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who left office in 2020, was “on board” with the arrangement to shift the money, the Associated Press reported. That money was originally intended to help low-income families in the state through a non-profit, but was moved to ensure Favre could use it, according to court documents.
In one text, court documents show, Favre asked if there was “anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?”
This message was allegedly sent before he publicly stated that he did not know the money came out of welfare funding.
Pearlman called the alleged funnelling of this money “so grotesque, so monstrous.”
Favre was fined US$50,000 by the NFL for failing to co-operate with investigators who were looking into the allegations. According to the league, forensic analysis failed to establish Favre had been the one behind the messages, but he was punished by the NFL for not being "candid in several respects" during the investigation, it said at the time.
Favre played primarily with the Green Bay Packers during his 20 seasons in the National Football League.