Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chronic Problem

So it looks like Ricky Williams is going to miss all of the 2006 season, having been suspended for his fourth violation of the league's drug policy. While no official information will be released, there are rumors that he was found to have traces of an amphetamine-like substance in his urine.

Personally, I think he's getting a raw deal on this one. First, I have to confess that I'm biased. During his days at Texas, Ricky Williams won me so much money that he basically paid my rent for me during football season (he and LaDanian Tomlinson are the two greatest gifts the college football gods every bestowed upon us lowly bettors). Still, anyone that's seen an interview with Ricky Williams knows he's not a speed junky. He's a pothead. My guess is that he was taking some holistic treatments which contained some herb that acts as a stimulant. This violation seemed pretty accidental to me, but I guess that's not a factor in the NFL's decision.

As for the violations that set up this larger punishment, I don't really understand why the NFL comes down so hard on marijuana smokers anyway. It's not like pot is a performance enhancer, nor is it any worse for you than the prescription painkillers that many players take, so what's really the big deal? Ok, I get that it's illegal, but other lawbreakers have received lesser penalties from the league. Leonard Little got liquored up to a .19 BAC then got behind the wheel of a car and killed a 47 year old woman- and he only got an 8 game suspension out of the deal. Granted it was only his first homicide, but still...8 games?? The punishments aren't fitting the crimes.

I guess the NFL is worried that corporate sponsors will shy away if its players all start growing dreadlocks and listening to reggae music. But really, they're missing out on a huge opportunity here. Frito-Lay could make a great impromptu commercial by simply throwing a couple cases of Cheetos into a NFL team meeting and watching the players go after it like a pack of stoned wolves. White Castle and Taco Cabana could pay for sponsorship as the "official late night destination of the NFL." The two minute warning would be replaced by a 4:20 warning. The only real downside is that it will mean the demise of the powdered urine market. I would feel bad about those urine farmers going out of business, but it seems like a reasonable sacrifice in exchange for a policy that's actually fair.

Ricky Williams will have the opportunity to seek reinstatement at the beginning of the 2007 season. Unfortunately this will likely be a moot point as by then, his beard will be so long as to prevent him from running without catching a cleat in his scraggly hair.

So this is probably farewell to Ricky. There will never be another player like you. Well except for Rashaan Salaam. Oh, and Onterrio Smith. And possibly William Green. And how 'bout Randy Moss, Jamal Lewis, Mark Stepnoski, Nate Newton, Leon Lett, Marvel Smith, Tra Thomas, Warren Sapp, Chris McAlister, Rashard Anderson, and Michael Irvin.

Sure is a good thing the NFL has cleaned up the league.


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