I just found it a teensy bit hollow that a book on the ‘90s Cowboys – “Jeff Pearlman is an insider’s insider ...” it says on the back – doesn’t include interviews with Troy Aikman or Emmitt Smith. You can get all the Clayton Holmes and Robert Jones you want – and, trust me, those sections and stories are well-reported, well-written and fascinating – but, I dunno, it just feels a little empty without fresh perspective from the big guns.
Pearlman, by the way, will be in in town the next two days to discuss and sign his book. Tonight at 7 at the Borders on Preston Road; Tomorrow at 4 at the SMU Borders.
I know one guy who won't be there ...
Anthony “Paco” Montoya. (Full disclosure: There was a time when I was pondering writing a similar Cowboys book with Montoya.)
Montoya, a familiar face around Valley Ranch in the ‘90s as several players’ personal assistant and confidant, called me yesterday to say that Pearlman used off-the-record conversations in his book and also attributed quotes to him that he never said.
“It was very clear to me that we were talking off the record, not to be put in the book,” says Montoya, who said he received angry calls from former players Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders about the book over the weekend. “I was just telling him stuff so he could get a feel for what it was like around here at the time. But I didn’t want it printed. Now (Pearlman) turns around and does this shit. I’m pissed.”
Montoya, who appears on nine different pages of the book, admits he met and talked to Pearlman at his uncle’s restaurant (Rosita’s) on Maple Avenue last spring. But he denies saying anything about the Cowboys’ former off-season basketball team – the “Hoopsters” – recruiting women to join it on the team’s private jet.
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“What he has me saying isn’t even possible,” Montoya maintains. “That plane wasn’t big enough to hold any more people than we already had.”
Of course I emailed Pearlman, who offered this retort:
“That's factually untrue. I spoke with Paco for 2 1/2 hours on the phone the first time we chatted. He started out by telling me, "I'm not sure what I want to say, because I want to write my own book." I said, "OK, I understand. Can I just ask you some things, and you decide whether you wanna talk?" For the remaining time, we talked, and that's where any/all Paco quotations come from. Obviously as a journalist speaking with a good source I didn't stop him, try to cut him off, say, "Do you want to save this for your own book?" I just listened and asked questions. He was a terrific source of information, and a nice guy. But, without question, he was neither misquoted or quoted using off-the-record material. I don't do that, and have never in the course of my career been accused of doing that. If Paco felt something I used was understood to be off the record, I feel bad about that. It wasn't my intent to make him look bad/hurt his feelings. But I know I didn't violate any journalistic and/or human standards of reporting.”
To be continued … ? -- Richie Whitt