Saturday, September 04, 2004

Brother Ricky

I think people who are not big sports fans get caught up in that "athletes as role-models" thing a bit more than hard-core fans do. Real fans are more willing to accept the flaws and peccadillos of their athletic heroes, as long as said hero continues to perform at a high level in their chosen arena.

And then there's the unique story of Ricky Williams. For those of you who don't follow the Sordid Side of Sports, here are the highlights: Ricky Williams is a very talented running back who played for the NFL Miami Dolphins. Ricky WilliamsAt the height of what had the potential to be a Hall of Fame career, and just days before the start of the 2004 training camp, brother Ricky informed the Miami team management that he no longer wanted to play football. He explained that he had lost the "passion to play" (his words, not mine) and said he wanted to travel, to explore exotic locales and revel in the adventure that is life (my words, not his).

Surprisingly, quite a few sportswriters felt this high-minded independence was refreshing and laudable. "Yay, Ricky," many exclaimed, "eschewing the lure of big bucks and the brutality of football for the aesthetic refinements of life, what a role-model." (Of course, that's not a direct quote, but you get the idea.)

As chagrined as the Miami Dolphins were, all was swell in Ricky-land. That is, until it was revealed that brother Ricky had failed a number of NFL mandated drug tests and would have been subject to a lengthy suspension had he not retired.

Having been unceremoniously outted, brother Ricky decided to shed the legalistic impediments of society like so many defensive backs and admit to an unabashed love for good marijuana.

Taking a page from the Bush Administration's war strategy, brother Ricky headed off the temporarily (and uncharacteristically) speechless sportswriters with a preemptive statement which suggested strongly that he should look for a new dealer:

"I didn't quit football because I failed a drug test," he said. "I failed a drug test because I was ready to quit football."

Of course, a great story like this can't end right there. Here's where it actually gets kooky. First the Miami Dolphins informed brother Ricky that he owed the team in the neighborhood of $8 million for signing bonuses and unachieved incentives. Brother Ricky replied that he didn't have the money (no points for guessing where it all went). Then, after some time to ponder his fate, which was not quite as idyllic without enough funds to purchase the highest quality cannibis, brother Ricky hit on a great idea. He contacted the Dolphins management and told them he'd un-retire and joyfully return to the team- but only if they gave him a raise.

Fortunately (or not, depending on your position) common sense prevailed and brother Ricky's great idea was pushed out-of-bounds.

So let's recap: Man quits a multi-million dollar job because it restricts his freedom to get high; man eventually realizes that not having a steady paycheck restricts that freedom even more; man goes to boss and offers to return, but only if the boss gives him a raise; man can't understand why the boss slams the door in his face.

And get this; brother Ricky actually has a foundation,, for helping underprivileged children.

What a role-model.


At September 04, 2004 11:18 AM, Blogger Gob said...

How pitiful that not only the passports to fame
(in this case sports achievement) but also fame in
itself is ridden with hypocrisy. I don't think
idolising goes to the extent, that people are
blinded in faith. Everyone (Including the press
which comes out with eulogies) does realise,
in some deep corner of their minds that, no-one
is infallible. Come to think of it, how can we,
even if we tried, assume that humans are perfect?
If we do believe that for a moment, then we are
denying the existence of our faculties or just
are too tired to think.

At September 04, 2004 10:26 PM, Blogger Henry Baum said...

I haven't been following this story but it seems like good press for NORML that Ricky Williams came out advocating marijuana. I don't like pot smoking, but it should be legalized. It's tough when he's a role model for kids, but beer commercials are plastered over every sporting event. Worse than marijuana, to my mind.


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