Joe Namath In New Book: Drinking Kicked My Butt For A Long Time

Says Infamous Suzy Kolber Interview Was A Turning Point

May 07, 2019 - 12:30 pm
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By WFAN.com 

In his new book, Joe Namath writes that his drinking was on a dangerous path, that he named the voice in his head that pushed him toward alcohol and that he hasn't had a drink since his infamous sideline interview with ESPN's Suzy Kolber 16 years ago. 

"The drinking was what would kick my butt for a long time," the Jets icon writes in "All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters," which was released Tuesday. "I believe any of us can be brought to our knees whether from physical or emotional pain. Over the years, I learned how fragile we humans can be. Emotionally, I used that as an excuse to start drinking again. ... I would drink all day sometimes."

Excerpts from the book were first reported Tuesday by ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Namath, 75, writes that a voice in his head would tell him to drink. He said he named the voice "Slick" because it made him listen to it differently. 

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"And, health-wise, I'd probably be dead by now if I hadn't stopped drinking," writes Namath, who quarterbacked the Jets from 1965-76 and led them to a legendary upset over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

During a 2003 interview, Namath told Kolber he wanted to kiss her. He admits he was drunk at the time.

"I saw it as a blessing in disguise," Namath writes. "I had embarrassed my friends and family and could not escape that feeling. I haven't had a drink since."

Prior to that, his then-wife Deborah encouraged him to seek help, but after visiting a psychologist, he would stop at a liquor store to buy a pint of vodka, he writes.

He also says that when he was playing for the Jets in his 20s, he would routinely stay out until 3 a.m. on weekdays during the season.