Ricky Williams: How The NFL Tackled A Cannabis Advocate
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A former nfl running back, Ricky Williams became one of Cannabis’ most surprising and outspoken advocates when he was publicly outed by the NFL for consuming it while playing professional football over a decade ago.
Williams was a stand-out football star both in high school in southern California and during his time at the University of Texas. He was the fifth pick in the 1999 NFL draft, chosen by the New Orleans Saints, who he would play with for 3 years before being traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2002. It was with the Dolphins in 2004, that Williams announced his early retirement from football, due to a positive drug test for Cannabis.
He faced a $650,000 fine from the league for this indiscretion, as well as a four game suspension. Later, in a 60 Minutes interview, Williams noted that the reason he’d gone into early retirement was to avoid the humiliation of a third failed Cannabis test being made public.
After retiring, Williams got his medical card in California and studied Ayurvedic medicine and yoga for a year. But Williams was too talented and too determined to never play football again. He decided to leave retirement in 2005, but he failed another drug test at the end of the season.
The NFL suspended him for an entire year, which forced Williams to consider playing for the Canadian Football League during the 2006 season.
In an amazing back-and-forth, he returned to Miami and the NFL in 2007, and played for another 4 years in the league.
During his career, Williams stated that he’d been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder, and for a time – he became a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical drug Paxil. Shortly after signing, Williams quit using the drug, noting it had not agreed with his vegan diet.
“Marijuana is ten times better for me than Paxil,” Williams later told ESPN.
Today, with the help of 420 Games founder Jim McAlpine, Williams is committing his time to opening Power Plant Fitness, the world’s first THC-powered workout facility, opening soon in San Francisco.
Power Plant Fitness members can enjoy on-site consumption and access to a wide array of workout-friendly “athletic edibles.”
Ricky Williams was persecuted for his Cannabis use in the NFL a decade ago, but the NFL continues it’s backward-minded prohibition for athletes while actively prescribing dangerous, addictive pharmaceuticals to them instead. Fans of football can only hope that the league wises up soon and recognizes that players like Ricky Williams are healthier because of their use of cannabis, not the other way around.