Former Dolphins running back Ricky Williams made an appearance on KGMZ-FM in San Francisco and said that football players are taught to “bully” one another.
“How is bullying something that’s even mentioned regarding the NFL?” Williams asked via NFL.com. “Because that’s kind of what we’re taught to do — at least on the field — is to bully the guy across from us so we can win the football game.
“It’s kind of what we’re subjected to on a day-to-day basis that most people will never be able to understand. … What we’re required to do physically, mentally and emotionally for the course of a season is astronomical — it’s amazing,” Williams added. “And I’m not saying that it’s bad. I’m saying it just really speaks to what it takes to be a professional football player. And to me there’s no room to play the victim or to be bullied or to even have that discussion when it comes to the NFL. If you’re having that discussion, it just means that maybe you don’t belong in the NFL.”
Williams said he realized nine years ago he didn’t belong in the NFL.
“I think I can relate and I can speak on this because I was at a point where I was done with the NFL and I needed to take a break,” Williams said. “But unlike Jonathan, I didn’t have to find a scapegoat or someone to blame. … I didn’t have to bring anyone else down when I found out that I just couldn’t handle what I was going through at the time.”
Williams said other players gave him a hard time when he came into the league.
“I just understood that’s the nature of the game,” Williams explained. “When I came in as a rookie, they called me ‘Ricky Weirdo.’ And they busted my balls and they gave me a hard time, but I just laughed because it was funny. … If someone sent me those messages, I would send a text back and call him a redneck and put ‘lol.’ To me, situations that you got yourself into, you got yourself into. It falls on you to find a way to get yourself out. And I’m not judging the way he got himself out of the situation. I actually think it’s quite brilliant.
“There’s all these text messages and these voice messages,” Williams went on. “It takes some awareness and some planning and some orchestration to actually save those and record those. … (Martin) is fighting (Incognito), but he’s just doing it in his own way. If we’re going to talk about the story as a hazing story — which doesn’t fit — or as a bullying story, it’s really a great example of the kid that is ‘getting bullied’ fighting back in his own way. … I think they’re both victims. I think the truth is never going to come out. One guy has a paid vacation. And one guy has a vacation that’s not paid right now.”
Williams says not everything that’s said in a locker room would be accepted by the public.
“It’s not inflammatory if it’s your family,” Williams said. “When you look at a team, especially two guys that play the same position, and you really understand how much time they spend together, you can’t put it in the context that you would put it outside of a family setting. … If you had a tape recorder in the locker room, you would hear a lot of stuff that wouldn’t fly in the media. A football team, the NFL, it’s a fraternity. … It’s not fair and it’s not right for people on the outside to judge and try to figure out what’s going on on the inside, because most of the people on the outside wouldn’t last a week on an NFL team.”
Williams says the Dolphins locker room lacks leadership.
“The locker room, we keep coaches out for a reason. It’s our space,” Williams emphasized. “When I look at the issue, it’s not about racism, it’s not about bullying, it’s not about hazing. It’s about a lack of leadership in that locker room. … And this is just one of the ways in which it’s manifested.”