Modern Athletes, Marijuana And Reefer Madness: Run Ricky Run

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director April 26, 2010

    On Tuesday evening, April 27, in its heralded 30 for 30 sports documentary series, ESPN will broadcast in prime time the behind-the-scenes story—and tragedy—of Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams’ unfortuitous rise to pro football fame during this prolonged epoch of cannabis prohibition (which began in 1937).

    For college and NFL football fans of the late 1990s, no player has grabbed more controversial headlines, over a longer period of time, for really nothing more than preferring cannabis to alcohol, than Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams.

    In a fascinating, multi-year documentary by Sean Pamphilon, a former ESPN producer, for the first time the general public and massive NFL fan base can watch the story that tracks Ricky’s amazingly erratic football career in Run Ricky Run, from his unwillingness to cut his dreads to play for the top-ranked and legendary University of Texas Longhorns (where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1998, college football’s top honor) to the New Orleans Saints where he was a top five draft pick, and finally the Miami Dolphins—all the while dogged by Ricky’s personal choice to continue to use cannabis while hugely influential and powerful institutions in American society (NCAA, U of TX, NFL and corporate sponsors) wrestled with his very personal (and consequential) choice, largely punishing him and making him something of a martyr in professional sports.

    I’ve had the pleasure of seeing parts of this fascinating documentary in the past and recommend this final production’s viewing as a way for us all to better understand the intersection of professional athletes, morality, the law and corporate public relations.

    *Premieres Tuesday Apr 27 8PM ESPN

    -Tuesday Apr 27 (11pm ESPN 2)

    -Wednesday Apr 28 (4:30pm ESPN U)

    -Wednesday Apr 28 (11pm ESPN U)

    -Thursday Apr 29 (7:30pm ESPN 2)

    -Thursday Apr 29 (11pm ESPN Classic)

    22 responses to “Modern Athletes, Marijuana And Reefer Madness: Run Ricky Run”

    1. Jed The head says:

      Another causality of the war on some drugs. College and professional sports has had many battles with substance abuse (steroids, Cocaine, Amphetamines, etc.) In the past many were overlooked. Cannabis should be their last worry. Its ability to help in the recovery process should be a good thing. It should be allowed as a medicine for those that need it.

    2. mcduffee420 says:

      I bet it runs 5 mins. about pot
      if not super props.
      I wish we had news that was news about pot on these, besides at the bottom links.Like Amsterdam or Jamaica where it’s legal and see what story’s they run of pot or top dog’s of the world’s view on pot.
      I check this site multiple times daily for my fav. plant and past time and usually am not satisfied,at least not as much as last year in the March,April,May months.
      Anyway I will def. check this out.
      thanks for being one of the few informative sites to keep track though

    3. ckdk30 says:

      Thats the shitty part about all of this someone successful loses all of it because he/she chose to use cannabis an not alcohol .Earth to the u.s um……..we have a problem!!

    4. ckdk30 says:

      Not to mention very inteligent people/ very good athletes such as Randy Moss very good player he used it too. Many people that you wouldn’t even think use’s does.Only thing is that catches them is either the whole piss test thing or poss otherwise no one would know much less care.

    5. mcduffee420 says:

      “The Constitution points out, that nothing in the document, grants the federal government authority to regulate drugs.””If you own your own body, then you have the right to do with it as you please, so long as you do not use it to initiate or threaten to initiate force or fraud against the person or justly-acquired property of anybody else.”

    6. Rick says:

      I want to smoke a joint with Ricky

    7. Rick says:

      the football player, not the little voice inside my head. he already smokes too much

    8. Rhayader says:

      The real shame is that, despite all indications of high usage levels in all major sports, Ricky is relatively alone among pro athletes in his refusal to publicly denigrate cannabis and its users. From Santonio Holmes to Michael Phelps to Tim Lincecum to Josh Howard, we know that cannabis pervades the behavior and culture of high-profile sports. Yet rarely do we see an athlete stand up to the pressure to “apologize”, let alone take an active role in cannabis law reform or similar advocacy (which would be a HUGE help to our cause).

      For what it’s worth, the same holds true to a certain extent in Hollywood. Apart from Woody Harrelson, Bill Maher, and now Sting (and maybe a couple others), you rarely hear the topic addressed among the Hollywood bleeding-heart elite. These people carry huge influence among people who are not otherwise likely to listen to messages about the harms of cannabis prohibition. I wish athletes and celebrities of all types would not only continue smoking pot, but would be public and proud and proactive about it.

    9. PabloKoh says:

      On the constitution thing: American’s back before prohibition actually respected the Constitution. This was why the Constitution had to be amended to outlaw alcohol. Then the Congress found a way to control the people using the commerce clause and passed the tax stamp act. I wish more American’s recognized this destruction of the Constitution and the danger to citizens when judges practice judicial activism.

    10. Ben says:

      Ricky Williams has finally gotten back into the good graces of the NFL. He’s making over $4 million this season, after making over $3 million last season. He’ll end up just fine. It’s great to see such a fine person triumph in the end.