Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ricky Be Ricky

Most people I know don't love their jobs. Some people I know hate what they do.

Imagine your somewhere in between those categories, stuck in the middle of apathy and digust. But also imagine you're getting paid millions for a job you really excel at but couldn't really care for. If you've earned enough cash and have accumulated the means to drop out of the workforce and do whatever you want for a few years, wouldn't you do it? Wouldn't you take that chance?

Wouldn't you say, "Fuck it," and ride off into the sunset (on a gay horse)? That's why I'm with Ricky Williams on this one. All the way.

Just because most of us want more than anything to be professional athletes doesn't mean everyone does. Ricky is a star running back, a powerhouse who carried the ball seemingly every offensive snap for two straight seasons. But from everything I've read about the guy, he doesn't love playing the game. In some reports I've read, he doesn't even like it at all. He's just really, really good at it.

And Ricky's not dumb. He knows the average career of a football player is only a few years, and the ones who make it past the median usually feel pain for the rest of their lives. He saw Earl Campbell hobble back to the University of Texas and he's watched his heroes limp around everywhere. He didn't play football like Ed Gennero played football -- like a goddamn rampaging beast -- instead, he played football because it was the best way to become a millionaire.

Then he woke up one day and didn't want to do it anymore. He made his money. Now he wanted to get high, travel the world, be himself for once and do the things he's always wanted to do. Can you honestly blame a man for that? Really?

How can you fault a man who risked embarrassment when he said in the public arena that he wanted to explore life outside of football and then "lived in a tent in Australia, studied holistic medicine at a California school and spent a month at a yoga center in India, becoming certified as an instructor"? I personally wouldn't do those particular things, but I love the fact that he wanted to and did it. I think he should be commended for that. He's my hero.

Ricky made a public apology to the fans yesterday, a very well-spoken one at that. He apologized to his teammates and his coaches. He's done the right thing all along. He even admits he's only returning to camp for one thing: "So the best way I can think of to put it is that I'm back here to work." There are 8.6 million reasons Ricky's coming back, and he's more than upfront about that fact.

Perhaps my biggest point of contention with the critics, though, centers around the pot issue. If I hear one more holier-than-thou sports anchor or reporter refer to him as a "loser who just wanted to smoke his pot," I'm gonna...I'm gonna...well, maybe I'll just hit the bong on my couch and laugh about it. But Doc Holliday was right about most professional athletes and members of the media: They're hypocrisy knows no bounds. How many athletes get high? How many members of the media smoke pot? But Ricky's a bad guy because he was honest about it? This town needs an enema.

I'm with Ricky. I want to see him do well. I want to see him play out his contract and retire again the very next day if he so chooses. You're supposed to do what you want with your life. Most of us are stuck in jobs we'd rather not be doing, but that doesn't mean we should be rooting for others to be mired in the same situation.

Here's a guy that quit when he had enough of the job and enough cash to do so, a fucking admirable spot to be in from where I sit. He got sued, felt the pinch and decided to go back to work.

If that makes him Public Enemy No. 1, I just don't understand the mindset of most Americans.


At 12:12 PM, Blogger Jacob Eli said...


I'm with you and most of your points about Ricky, with one exception.

I don't fault him for taking a hiatus, travelling the world and smoking mad bones. I do, however, fault him for the way he left his team--with no warning and no real backup, right before the season started.

If the hiatus was really what he wanted to do with his life, he should have said so right after the '03 season and gone his merry stoned way. But, by leaving during training camp, it showed A) he still has no idea what he wants to do with his life (not that there is anything wrong with that) and B) that he had no regard for his co-workers, in this case the O-Line that literally gives their knees, their nuts and their lives after 50 to show Ricky some daylight.

In my opinion, Ricky owes them unlimited bong rips for the rest of those guys lives.

The media scrutiny shouldn't be focused on his ganj habits, but rather the way he treated his teammates and how they feel about his return, and their dismal 4-12 '05 campaign.

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I don't disagree with that. At all. That sucked. But remember, the guy was about to fail his fourth (right?) drug test, so his teammates most likely wouldn't have had him for the season anyway.

Still, you make a good point, which is a point I made at the time but completely forgot about already.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger ahren said...

i definitely am 100% behind ricky's desire and plan to do whatever he wants.

and i don't even fault him for bailing on his team-- if the team suddenly decided they didn't need ricky, they would't give him the courtesy either, they'd just cut his ass when it benefitted them most.

i do however fault him for being a total dumbass. his plan was retarded and he didn't think it through before he took off, so it cost him a ton of money, and basically set back his plan a number of years.

At 1:23 PM, Blogger ethan said...

the only thing that could make williams cooler was if he stood naked in front of a mirror in the locker room to pump himself up pregame. like the original rickey.

ahren - i don't think anyone cares that he bailed on the dolphins as a business, who could cut him just like you said. i think people were upset that he left his teammates a little high and dry (get it? high?) and that they suffered because of his decision. it's not like jay fiedler can cut him. with that said, i don't feel bad specifically for his O-line (who still got paid), just for those dolphins who really love football and winning, since his quitting directly affected that.

At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that it was dick to leave his teammates, but they could have gone 0-16 and still each player on the team would be a millionaire. So you get embarrassed on game day, who gives a shit? The other six days of the week you're a fucking millionaire living in Miami.
That said he is an idiot, like Ahren said, for costing himself $8.5 million to retire. Usually when you retire you get a pension, you dont have to give one

At 3:28 PM, Blogger The Letter D said...

I think GQ had a article on Ricky Williams life after his "retirement," which made his choice seem eminently reasonable and understandable.

For all the flack Ricky gets, he did something extraordinary for an celebrity- he sincerely apologized.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous John Howard said...

I'm with you on this one Ace. I think he's kind of a flake, and I think he could have handled the timing better, but it's his life and if he doesn't want to play football, people should understand that. Hell, I love football, but playing it professionally looks like it would be really, really hard.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Jason Mulgrew said...

I don't think Anonymous has ever played a sport or likes sports.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Jacob Eli said...

I concur with Mulgrew.

Additionally, most football players, especially linemen, aren't filthy rich millionaires.

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Snacks said...

With respect to your biggest point of contention with the critics, I think Ricky should be able to spoke pot as much as he wants and not be penalized for it. In fact, I think the NFL and all professional sports should make an affirmative decision not penalize athletes for smoking marijuana. These athletes are adults, making millions of dollars and should be able to make the decision for themsleves whether getting high during the season (or during the off-season for that matter) will affect their performance on the field. For all of us who have smoked pot, we know it's probably not a good idea to smoke on gameday (or the night before) but if Ricky smokes Sunday night after rushing for 180 yards and 2 TDS, will he not do the same the following week? I think he will.

Now, of course, pot is illegal but that's a converstation for another time.

At 8:34 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I think the amount of times someone on this site has stumped for mari-guana legalization will land us on some sort of DEA watch list. That's cool, ese.

Snacks, couldn't agree more obviously...preachin' to the choir never sounded so good.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger MDS said...

"if the team suddenly decided they didn't need ricky, they would't give him the courtesy either"

Actually, they probably would. Coaches usually tell a player if they're thinking about cutting him, if for no other reason than to get him to work harder.

I agree with Ace here, and one interesting thing to remember is that Ricky always preferred baseball. He made decent money in the minor leagues and thought seriously about quitting football altogether, but the scouts told him they thought he was a long-shot to make it to the Majors, while he was a sure-thing first-round pick in the NFL.

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

That's an interesting point about baseball, MDS...I don't think I ever knew that, and if I did, I surely forgot about it.

At 1:20 PM, Blogger k-bone said...

man im with my homeboy ricy all the way about his decisons i mean i smoke pot my self and play football on the high school varsity team and im a startin WR/DB and no its not good to smoke on gameday or before but i do really think he should finish his NFL season with miami thats cuz im an miamidolphins fan my self and he is the missing pieace to a miami superbowl champions ship am i the only one that can see that


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