Earlier this week, I stumbled upon a thread of tweets by former Esquire reporter Chris Jones that was too good not to share.
Back in 2004, Ricky Williams, the American football player, left the Miami Dolphins after a third strike for smoking weed and disappeared. He’d had a notable career besides, but this was the capper: He said goodbye to his coach from Hawaii and vanished off the face of the Earth.
— Chris Jones (@EnswellJones) January 29, 2021
What a story, I’ll be lucky if I ever have a boss that cool. Both of these guys knew damn well that there was less than a zero percent chance of finding Ricky. Talk about the balls on this guy to just pack his bags, and go Ricky hunting. I find it hilarious that he was honestly hoping he wouldn’t find Ricky so he could travel the world, and have a Young Pageviews from Barstool Outdoors style vacation on your company’s dime. It obviously worked out for the best, as he found Ricky in literally 20 minutes, but nonetheless what an insane thing to propose to your boss.
Aside from the ridiculous premise that this story is built on, the story of Ricky Williams is beyond fascinating. This guy had the world at his fingertips, and was the NFL rushing champion two year prior. He was the cornerstone of the Miami Dolphins franchise, and then in a blink of an eye, he vanished off the face of the earth.
Look we’ve all had those friends who need to smoke weed at all times of the day in order to be a functioning member of society. Ricky falls under that category. Especially since he’s an NFL running back, who’s body had to be taking a beating from getting 20 plus carries a game. It’s proven that Weed helps as a pain relief, sadly, he happened to be playing in the early 2000’s. The NFL is finally starting to recognize Marijuana as a better alternative to addictive painkillers which is a step in the right direction. But when Ricky was playing, violating the substance abuse policy for weed was viewed like you were smoking crack.
But it is still an absurd thing to choose weed over playing in the NFL. The media was tough on Ricky, and that took a toll on him mentally. Ricky just wanted to run away from all the scrutiny, and so he did.
That’s what I love about this story, it has such an early 2000’s vibe to it. Shitty cell phones, no social media, and email as the main source of communication. The fact that one of football’s biggest stars could just say fuck it, and dissappear without a trace still amazes me. That could never happen in today’s day and age of social media, and that’s why I love Ricky’s story.
Ricky was tired of all the bullshit, he had all the money in the world, and could have cared less what the world thought of his decision. He truly lived life to the fullest, I mean he was a Heisman Trophy winner, and the NFL’s leading rusher. Who cares what a couple of asshole sports pundits think about your character. He really experienced all facets of life, as not many people could do what he did while being at the top of their profession. Ricky just wanted to find inner peace, and that he did.
Side Note: I need to know more about this mystic steve fellow, I am way too invested in this story now lmao.
Shoutout to ESPN for all the info, they have a great 30 for 30 that tells Ricky’s story.