Jeff Pearlman

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My Buddy (the story of me and Mark Chmura)

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So writing a book can be funny, in that you never know what’s going to happen. Some people talk, some people don’t talk. Some are open, some are closed. Some are lovely, some are standoffish.

Then there is Mark Chmura, the former Packers tight end.

In May of 2015, I reached out to Mark with the following e-mail:

Mark:

Hello. My name is Jeff Pearlman. I’m a former Sports Illustrated writer, author of four New York Times best-sellers.

So I’m currently working on a biography of Brett Favre, and about 100 different people have said, “Make sure you speak with Mark.” Thus far I’ve interviewed about 350 people; have spent much time in Mississippi with the Favre family. I’m coming to Wisconsin for most of next week, and wanted to see if you’d be willing to sit down and chat. This is me: www.jeffpearlman.com

Anyhow, thanks for the consideration.

Best,

Jeff Pearlman

•••

He responded with this three-word e-mail:

Go fuck yourself

•••

So … that was weird. I didn’t know Mark Chmura; had never met Mark Chmura; had never written about Mark Chmura. Go fuck myself? What? Why? Hence, I wrote back the following two questions …

Go fuck myself? What’s that for?

•••

Chumra responded with this …

Articles you write about me

•••

I was bewildered. Again, I’d never written a thing about Mark Chmura. Not a single thing. In fact, the only time his name escaped my lips was when, in some useless radio interviews, I said people shouldn’t rush to judgment when someone is accused of a heinous act (Chmura was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl). I fired off this exact e-mail …

Um, I’ve never written a single thing about you, Mark. Literally just Googled it to make sure—literally not a single word. Ever. I was a baseball writer at SI. Fuck, I was a defender of yours when everyone was piling on, saying people rush to judge far too quickly in modern media. I assure you, you 100-percent have the wrong guy.

•••

I didn’t hear from Mark for a day or two, and then I got this dandy. It was a forwarded e-mail initially written by his wife …

A few excerpts from shit that piece of shit Pearlman has written in his days of sports reporting-

From 2011- “ Get the Falcons coaching staff’s daughters in the hot tub with Mark Chmura: I really put this in here because it has been far too long since I made a Mark Chmura joke.”

“Nor can the NFL be excused for its stance on Lewis. Didn’t league officials make a big deal at their latest meetings about image? Isn’t one player, Carolina’s Rae Carruth, charged with murder, and another, Green Bay’s Mark Chmura, charged with having non-consensual sex with a minor?”

“At least we sports fans have the Rae Carruth and Mark Chmura trials to look forward to.”

•••

Here’s the best part. I wrote none of that. Literally, nary a word. The e-mail inadvertently included Chumra’s wife’s contact information. I called her and said, “This is Jeff Pearlman—the writer. And before you say anything, you need to know YOU HAVE THE WRONG GUY!”

Awkward silence. I said, again, “I didn’t write any of that stuff. You’re confusing me with another person. I swear to God.”

More silence, and a kind apology. “I don’t know how that happened,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

“No worries,” I told her. “Stuff happens.” I e-mailed her husband the next day.

Never heard back.

  • Largebill

    Holy Misunderstanding, Batman!

    Wow, I’ve been wrong about something in the past without lashing out and dropping f-bombs on strangers. However, playing Devil’s Advocate for a moment, I can imagine they had been burned by other requests for interviews that claimed to be about one thing and then went on to ask about the ugly accusations. Probably just want to be left alone at this point.

    • sanford943

      didn’t have to be an ass hat about it. Could have pleasantly declined

  • Ted Mark

    Sounds like CTE runs in the Chmura family.

  • Mix Disqusrud

    Excerpt #1: Bobby Futon on January 10, 2011
    http://www.franchisefantasysports.com/blog/index.php/?p=305

    Excerpt #2: Dave Fairbank on June 6, 2000
    articles.dailypress.com/2000-06-06/sports/0006060021_1_relief-pitcher-john-rocker-sports-illustrated-ray-lewis

    Excerpt #3: John Montgomery on June 10, 2000
    http://www.johnmonty.com/cotw/cw000610.htm

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life