The Astro-logic of Ricky Williams choosing pot over pro football

By Marc Katz

I once had a roommate who smoked marijuana, and I have a friend who touts me on its medicinal value all the time.

That’s about it for my knowledge of MJ, weed, pot, cannabis. Growing up, I didn’t like strange smells and hated smoke.

Usually in this space, I’ll tell you something I know at least a little about or have seen, and I know you’re going to tell me I covered plenty of games where the participants where high on leafy green stuff and I’m naïve to think they were not.

Well, I am naïve, and I am certain I’ve covered a pot-head or two. There has been overwhelming evidence of marijuana use. It would be folly to deny.

It’s just that I have no stories leading me to a subject for this space, which is why I’m turning to every article I can find on Ricky Williams to get me through this haze.

I didn’t cover Williams, but his career as a football player coincided with the middle of my career as a sports writer, and while his marijuana use can be a serious subject, there are parts of his story I find to be on the humorous side.

He basically gave up a longer pro football career because he was tired of testing positive and being suspended. It was more important for him to be able to smoke marijuana than play pro football.

One year, on suspension from the NFL, Williams played in the
Canadian Football League.

True, I’d rather have a pro football player smoking marijuana than my next airline pilot, but I’m guessing even medicinally, marijuana can be overdone, just like drinking too many beers at one sitting.

The question for Williams is, how much of his smoking released him from the pain of injuries incurred from playing football, and how much of his smoking was so he could enjoy a quiet afternoon on the beach?

Let’s be honest. You and I have never played pro football, so what looks like a fun profession isn’t always. If Ricky Williams enjoyed himself more smoking weed than running over weeds, I’m not going to say he made a bad decision.

He had his successes in football. He was the Heisman Trophy winner at Texas and was a two-time All-America running back. He played 11 years in the NFL. Even the great Jim Brown didn’t do that.

He is in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Obviously, he is not like us, and not just because he could play football. He is also a qualified yoga instructor, operates with a vegan diet – although he has been reported eating non-vegan Greek yogurt – and is said to have seven children spread over three women. That’s just a little more prolific than our president.

He has been diagnosed with clinical depression and social anxiety disorder and I’m going to add “statements not fully understood by old sports writers, but maybe understood by you.”

On his twitter feed, Williams has listed a series of statements that go beyond my total comprehension but could be useful to deeper thinkers.

“Astro-logic is acknowledging our connection to everything around us and using that knowledge to be more participatory in the time and place in which we find ourselves,” is one of those statements, possibly marijuana fueled.

Another goes: “When new complicated feelings arrive, you can look to the sky or to the symbolism of it in your chart to understand that Astro-logic underlying the drama of the particular storybook of your life at hand.”

I could laugh that off and say it’s the marijuana talking, but I really have no idea. I do know there is some deep thinking there, but you’d also have to be a deep thinker to appreciate it.

During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Williams said cannabis unlocks, “the part of us that connects with something bigger. It’s the part that’s active during dreams. You become not so attached to your own stuff.

“If you integrate that (approach), then addictions–alcoholism, food, porn; all these behaviors that plague society–we’ll start to change them. Those things are a side effect of a lack of integration.

“That’s how I use cannabis.”

He has traveled the world trying to find a cure for as many ills as he can, including through the use of combination marijuana/workout gymnasiums.

Well, it’s nice to say you’re pursuing a higher standard of living, but a lot of people use marijuana just to get high. You might be able to run on a football field under those conditions, but not drive a car.

Then again, you just may be looking for a Ricky Williams autograph.

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Columbus-born Marc Katz had a 44-year newspaper career, 41 of those years covering sports, 40 of them at the Dayton Daily News. He now blogs at Reach Dayton City Paper sports writer Marc Katz at

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