I've been deliberately avoiding the whole Ricky Williams discussion. The main reason is that personally, I think too many people are acting like it actually has some bearing on their lives; like the fact that Dread decided to retire from football leaves them in a lurch. In most cases, that's just not the case, except for some fantasy football pool or something, and in cases where his departure actually has left them in a lurch, that says more about them than him. If his mama can deal with it, the rest of y'all should be able to get along too. Part of the problem is the fact that we deify celebrities. For the most part, our behavior says that if a person comes into the house via the box, their life must be better/worth more examination than mine. Sports and entertainment stars are especially prone to this type of superficial judgment. We talk about these people as if we know them; like we grew up around the corner from them and our mothers are old friends. We refer to them as if we're on first-name basis, and why? Because they're weekly "guests" in our home, either via their actual game/show or via one of the many shows dedicated to tracking the goings-on in their lives. Of course the real truth is, we don't know them and they don't know us. The whole "relationship" is false. (And I'll be the first to admit that I do it too. Get a conversation started on Kobe and see how quick I jump in. I'm not better than anybody else, but I readily acknowledge the fact that the whole behavior is ridiculous.) So in the case of Ricky Williams, it's slowly but surely coming to light that his marijuana smoking played a role in his retirement decision. I only bring it up now because Bill O'Reilly has weighed in on it. (Of course, it wouldn't be a Bill O'Reilly rant if he didn't find a way to mention Ludacris in there somewhere. Sometimes I just kinda wonder...is there really that much legitimate obsession a man can have with another man? Seriously.) His arguments about the degree to which our culture is awash in intoxicants is valid, so I can't beef with that. What caught me off guard was this gem: "Think about all the good Williams could have done with the money he was earning." Say what? Like I said, this all boils down to the fact that we think and act like we know people just because we know their names and their salaries. We act like the knowing somebody's salary gives us the right to run their budget - even as our own debt accumulates. Personally, I think the argument against the legalization of marijuana is specious at best. Every point that can be made about weed can be made - more strongly - against a controlled substance tht's currently legal. Seriously. The laws against marijuana possession are pure-D draconian, particularly considering the potential degree of harm involved. Weed makes people goofy, hungry, and sleepy. Maybe horny. That's about it. Over the long term, there are some more detrimental aspects, like increased risk of lung cancer and other potential damage to bodily systems, but again-- it's nothing worse than stuff I can go to the store and buy now. There's no reason to do physical jail time over a joint. There's just not. The fact that it's against the law in this case is irrelevant, because it's the law that's flawed. But whatever. As it is now, weed is against the law and Ricky kept flunking the test so he bailed from the League. That's his prerogative. Ricky Williams is a grown man. He decided that living the way he wants to is worth more than the money he was being paid to play football. While I am fairly certain that I, Avery Tooley, would not retire from the League at 27 unless it was simply medically impossible for me to continue, it's not my decision to make for Ricky Williams. Nor is it the decision of any of those sportswriters and fans who have gone apoplectic in the past few weeks. "If I had all that talent and/or money...," they start. Okay,if all us spectators were participants, we'd still be in the League. Whatever that means. Just like I can say, "If I was getting X millions to play basketball, I'd be at practice on time every day." Whatever. That's easy for me to say now, when I'm nowhere near that situation. If Ricky wants to travel and puff herb, that's on him. I think we all have enough in our own lives to be concerned about.