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Ricky Williams Opens Up

By December 20, 2004

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On Sunday evening, Ricky Williams appeared in his first television interview since abruptly retiring from the NFL shortly before the 2004 NFL season. And his conversation with "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace was a bit on the bizarre side, to say the least. Gone are his dreadlocks, inspired by the late Reggae star Bob Marley, and he now sports facial hair reminiscent of Grady Wilson of the 1970s sitcom "Sanford and Son".

The former Miami Dolphins running back explained to Wallace that his sudden retirement stemmed from a third positive drug test and the fallout that was sure to come if he stuck around.

"The thing that I had the most trouble with was that after you fail your third test, then it becomes public knowledge that you failed the test. And that's the one thing that I couldn't deal with at the time. People knowing that I smoke marijuana," Williams told Wallace. "That was my biggest fear in my whole entire life. I was scared to death of that."

Of course, he contradicts himself later by saying he doesn't care what others think of him, which only leads to confirm my suspicion that he is a very confused young man who is looking for something out of life that football didn't offer him.

Obviously, Williams is the type of guy that walks to the beat of a different drum, and apparently he places a higher value on other things in life than money and fame. And while many of us find it hard to understand how he could walk away from millions of dollars to play a game, he has never hidden the fact that he does not share the same love for the sport than many NFL athletes do. So in retrospect, it should not have come as a surprise that he walked away from the game while at the pinnacle of his earning power. Obviously, his timing could have been better, but the signs were there from the beginning.

And who are we to tell him when it is, or isn't, okay to live his life as he sees fit?

Williams put it best when he said, "So when is it okay for me to stop playing football? When would it have been okay for me to stop playing football? When my knees went out? When my shoulders went out? When I had too many concussions? Like what? When is it okay? I'm just curious, because I don't understand. When is it okay to not play football anymore?"

I think the public's problem with this situation is that there is a misconception that Williams chose marijuana, which he readily admits to using, over football. In reality, what Ricky appears to be looking for is freedom. He craves the freedom to be where he wants when he wants, and to do what he wants. And I have a hard time faulting anyone that is searching for that peace of mind.

Could he have handled the situation better? Absolutely! But Ricky Williams does not owe it to us to continue playing football. He has the right to pursue happiness just as the rest of us do.

Comments

June 7, 2006 at 11:10 am
(1) Gary Brown says:

1) “…that’s the one thing that I couldn’t deal with >at the time

June 9, 2006 at 2:19 pm
(2) kevin m. says:

wow he smokes weed. now i like him even more

June 24, 2006 at 1:12 am
(3) Tania says:

William’s is a marijiuana user to help him deal with his social anxiety disorder.

July 8, 2006 at 6:25 pm
(4) Erik Dennard says:

I’ve always said that it wasn’t about the Mary Jane.It’s about what a Grown man wants to do.

September 14, 2006 at 3:17 pm
(5) rickyfan says:

praying for you Ricky

October 22, 2006 at 1:51 am
(6) S. Miller says:

You will always be my hero Ricky, no matter what! I am 15 years old and I am a sophomore in HS and I start at Tailback on Varsity. You inspire me every friday night to run as hard and as best as I can! Thank you! Hang in there in Toronto and I hope to see you in the NFL next season!

If you are ever in Iowa stop by in Greenfield(SW Iowa)
I WILL meet you someday before I die!

December 31, 2006 at 12:44 pm
(7) warren yake says:

Errick (Ricky) had an addiction-Football.
It causes “…knees (to go out), shoulders (to give out), concussions…”. The late Greats, disabled, many crippled, in pain, wheelchair bound, in dank and dusty corners, largely forgotten, and fighting for pennies to eat might have tried a little weed, or not. Who cares?
Quit Football, Ricky. And the “Critics”.
Keep the weed.

January 6, 2007 at 5:02 pm
(8) Ron Ennen says:

Sure hope you decide to come back now that nick sabans gone. Thanks for all your input on your bout with anxiety.

January 30, 2007 at 8:25 am
(9) James says:

Ricky ther are so many people that would do anything to be a good as you are at football. I can’t belive that you would just abanden your fans like that. I’m a sophmore at West Seneaca West Hight School and I would give anything to be as good as you. Ricky I don’t understand how you can play football for so long ang then just quit like you did. I still think that your a amazing football player and I hope you come back this season.

March 30, 2007 at 5:43 pm
(10) Chris says:

Cant wait to see Ricky Williams back on The Miami Dolphins Line-up.. i hope he will be stronger and even better then wat he was.. and also ricky stay off the Weed we want to see u back again soon!

May 12, 2007 at 12:53 am
(11) Fonz says:

Stay true to yourself Rickey!!! Do what you want, the only person that anything matters to is yorself. If your happy F#*k what everybody else has to say!! have fun 420.

May 16, 2007 at 2:52 pm
(12) william says:

It just goes to show everybody that the maryjane is’nt a problem people make it out to be. I believe Ricky was puffing the cheba all along and was a damn good running back. I also believe after being out of the game for a short time will hurt him more than the pot. Maybe the NFL and all of pro sports should focus on the more dangerous substances and let the green grass go . Keep on burning Ricky and good luck in your return to the sport you are great at . P.S. Dika is a god to football and he believed in you and that was good enough for me!!!!!! A TRUE FAN OF THE GAME!

July 15, 2007 at 11:56 am
(13) Collin says:

I like Ricky Williams alot, but if he wants a job he best stay away from the pot….im not saying it’s wrong, I smoke lots of pot myself, but if he wants a job, he better smarten up, and he says it’s for his social anxiety disorder, that jus means he’s socially concious, we all are a little bit, but it’s learning to deal with it, taking drugs like paxil never helped anyone, and neither should marijuana. Even im a little bit socially concious, but I dont use drugs to solve my problems, I learn to deal with them and learn to relax. I think when U use drugs to solve any form of stress whether it be mental or physical, it’s the wrong way to go.

August 26, 2007 at 7:31 am
(14) stephen says:

i cant wait 2 see RICKY WILLIAMS explode out of the back feild again

September 9, 2007 at 11:59 am
(15) orgasmic says:

my human emotion is being selfish. So i want to see him playing football. But once the facade of my wants wear off. I relize it his his decision and i will embrace it if god willing. As far as cannabis, marijuna im sure there are countless people who self medicate medical, mental, physical problems with this magical plant. perhaps he wanted to treat his alliments naturally rather then what ever they gave to mike tyson. I’ll support his health and well being rather then my selfish need to see him kick ass on the field

November 26, 2007 at 10:04 pm
(16) bill says:

i have social anxiety and smoking weed makes it 100 times worse but not when im with good friends. weed is amazing but after smoking everyday this summer i started to think the GOVERMENT was after me and weird thought which i would believe.

June 10, 2010 at 8:15 pm
(17) doc says:

I HOPE THAT I CAN GET INFORMATION ABOUT REACHING MR. WILLIAMS VIA EMAIL ABOUT ISSUES I HAVE LIVED WITH FOR SEVERAL DECADES. I JUST WATCHED A PROGRAM ABOUT HIM ON 30 FOR 30. IT INSPIRED ME TO TRY TO REACH HIM SOMEHOW. I HOPE I GET SOME HELP WITH THIS. THANKS SO MUCH. BY THE WAY MY OPINION HAS CHANGED TREMENDOUSLY ABOUT HIM. DAMN THE MEDIA. THANKS SO MUCH…

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