Williams: I Assume Long-Term Health Effects Coming

Ricky Williams discussed CTE, Colin Kaepernick, and the Freedom Football League, among other topics

The DA Show
December 11, 2018 - 1:10 pm

USA Today Images


Ricky Williams dropped by The DA Show on Tuesday for a candid interview about numerous topics, including CTE, Colin Kaepernick, and the Freedom Football League, which he is founding with other former NFL players.

But first things first: health and wellness. Williams, an outspoken proponent of medicinal marijuana, opined about the NFL’s evolving stance on injuries and concussions.

“I think we’re out of the dark ages,” Williams said in studio. “I think that’s represented by the NFL actually owning the fact that football does cause damage to football players. I think the numbers right now, if it’s not 100 percent, it’s like 99 decent of former players have some level of brain damage. Part of my journey in life since I retired has been healing my body. I’ve been around the world learning about different healing modalities and things that we can do. A large part of my involvement in the league will be bringing those to a professional football league.” 

Williams, 41, won the Heisman Trophy at Texas in 1998 and played in the NFL for more than a decade. Still, he does not worry about long-term health effects.

“I don’t,” he said. “I assume that they’re coming, especially the way that I played football, but I’ve also spent so much resources – time, money – taking care of my body and trying to do things to help myself recover. I think one of the things that’s not talked about enough with professional athletes is in order to strive as a professional athlete for the long-term, you have to have the ability to recover and to heal yourself. I don’t think athletes utilize that capacity enough.”

Williams also shared his thoughts on Kaepernick. Like Kaepernick, Williams had issues with the NFL during his playing days.

“Honestly, I have a different take on it,” he said. “When I got to a point in the NFL where my personal values and the NFL’s values clashed, I decided to leave and do my own thing. That’s part of the impetus of the Freedom Football League. If you’re not happy with the NFL’s rules and the way that they do things, why don't you create something different?”

Williams has asked Kaepernick to participate in the Freedom Football League.

“We’ve invited Colin to be an owner in the league and to take his insight and his experiences and help contribute to building something different – something that is a place that’s more inclusive where people feel like they have a place where they can be heard, where they can develop, where they don’t have to sacrifice too much to play the game that they love,” Williams said. “Playing the game they love can contribute to their own personal and individuals values and goals.”