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Sunday, December 28, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 8/1/2004

Truth about Williams is revealed

You can play a role for only so long.

Sooner or later, the real person emerges.

Ricky Williams is trying to portray someone - or something - he's not.

Turns out, the only reason Williams, one of the best running backs in the NFL, is taking a leave of absence from football is because he couldn't face the reality of a situation entirely of his doing.

Given this is my second Ricky Williams column in a week, I know this sounds like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth.

When Williams first announced his "retirement," I defended Williams by suggesting he had a right to stop playing football if he had lost his love for the game.

Only 27, Williams gave the impression there was no room in his life for football because he wants to spend more time with his children, continue his education, become a teacher, and, to hear him tell it, travel around the world in 80 days.

It's no coincidence, however, that Williams made his surprising decision after learning he had failed a league-imposed drug test a third time, resulting in a mandatory four-game suspension.

By not playing, Williams conveniently avoids paying more than $1.7 million in fines.

Even for someone who reportedly doesn't care about material things, that's a lot of money for a rainy day.

Of course, I was assuming Williams was telling the truth. The problem for Williams, however, is he's twisting the truth.

Sometimes a lie is used as a way of protecting innocent people. That's not the case here. Williams is hardly innocent.

With Williams, it's hard to distinguish between fact and fiction.

He doesn't let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Just asking, but has Williams gotten around to filing his official retirement papers with the league office?

In a recent read-all-about-it article in the Miami Herald (the only south Florida newspaper Williams will grant an interview), Williams' attorney predicted his client may rediscover his zeal for football by next year - after all the controversy dies down.

Spare me.

It's no secret Williams has a thing for marijuana.

He likes it. He smokes it. He flaunts it.

Worse, he showed the league's drug program to be ineffective.

Williams failed three drug tests and probably would have failed more if he hadn't used a cheap masking agent he claims he forgot to drink prior to the three times he failed.

Williams just doesn't get it. He doesn't care that marijuana is an illegal drug. He's living in a fantasy world.

If I fail three drug tests at my job, I'm unemployed and carrying around a sign that says, "Will Write for Food."

It's all a big joke to Williams, who was enrolled in the league's drug program and seeing a therapist weekly.

Clearly, the program didn't suppress Williams' desire for marijuana. Plus, Williams proved the test can be beaten.

Using Williams as Exhibit A, the program was a failure.

All is not lost, however, if the NFL becomes serious about developing a better drug program. That way the mistakes made with Williams won't be repeated with the next offender.



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