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ESPN: How 'The Fridge' Lost His Way


The Franchise Player
Jul 15, 2009
Reaction score
Columbia, SC
Great article by Tom Friend. A little long but worth it.


AIKEN, S.C. -- Every day begins with William Perry needing help out of bed. Usually, it's 10 a.m. before he even gives it a try, and to support his 400 pounds, he shuffles to the living room on two legs that barely work and his sturdy black cane.

Once he sits down, he and his chair are in a long-term relationship. He doesn't move, except to go to the bathroom, and the concerning part is that he has no desire to move. A home gym is just 20 feet away from him, but he mostly scowls at it from a safe distance. A walking path is only 40 feet away, but he mostly hisses at it from the comfort of his seat.

His day consists of watching television and eating three or four meals prepared by his heart-broken wife, Valerie. She nags him to exercise, but says she gets "cussed out'' for it. She bugs him to take his medication but says she gets ignored over it. Her new trick, just to get him on his feet, is to tell him he has to come to the kitchen to eat his lunch. That's her best way to get "The Refrigerator'' to walk near the refrigerator.

Of course, then when she least expects it, her husband will hobble out the door and into his car. She knows exactly where he's headed: to the liquor store.

Because every day ends with William Perry needing a drink.

The insecurities

The rise was so much less complicated than the fall. William Perry, now 48, was once America's mascot -- a pear-shaped, gap-toothed football player who could sing, dance, sack quarterbacks, score touchdowns and muss Mike Ditka's hair.

The fact that he did it with an innocent smile made it all the more endearing. But, turns out, he was never as innocent as he seemed.

The insecurities came early. It's hard enough weighing 200 pounds in the sixth grade, but it's even worse if your front tooth's been shot out. William was in grammar school when one of his cousins mischievously pulled the trigger of a BB gun, blasting William straight in the mouth. One of his front two teeth was splintered. So William entered his Aiken high school as, essentially, the funny-looking fat kid.

Click on the link for the rest
It IS sad. I don't see him ever recovering at this point. He might be too far gone. If so, he won't live to see 50. :(

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