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To Pamphilon, it's dangerous mumbo jumbo. "I've interviewed enough people to understand that if you've played the amount of games he's played at the positions he's played, I can't imagine how it wouldn't have an effect on his brain," he says of Ricky. "I really hope that it doesn't. But to think otherwise is just not grounded in reality."
Midmorning on a Monday, Ricky bursts through the doors of a SunTrust branch in Fort Lauderdale. "It's funny learning all this business stuff," he says with evident pride. "I've become a businessman."
He's there to pick up a credit card machine. He's bringing his Florida corporation — Errick Williams Group LLC — out of dormancy. Access Consciousness is not only spiritually "mind-blowing," as Ricky likes to say, but also extremely profitable.
Besides his sessions at the studio in Davie, he's spent much of the past few months traveling the world — Singapore, Jamaica, Australia, Dubai, Cancún — teaching wealthy people how to live without judgment or the rule of emotion, the tenets of Access Consciousness. A group weekend with Ricky and other "facilitators" can cost each student $2,000.
Ricky fits his frame into a chair in a cubicle across from a doting banker named Linda. He signs up for a Delta SkyMiles business credit card. "A hundred twenty dollars?" he says, laughing wildly, when told the fee. "That's nothing!" He then recites his social security number next to a reporter he first met that morning, has to call his wife Kristin twice because he forgot their address, and guesses that his corporation will make $20,000 a month in revenue.
That is, much to Kristin's chagrin, a severe pay cut. Ricky was set to make $1.5 million next season, his second of a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens. Between the Master P-negotiated rookie deal, the suspensions and first retirement at the height of his earning potential, child support payments on two coasts, and a general disinterest in capitalizing on his fame, Ricky has made only a fraction of the nine-figure fortune for which he originally appeared destined.
The plan with his wife was to buy a house with his Ravens salary in the upcoming season.
But Ricky, who plotted his retirement every season while dreaming about future travels and classes, felt misused in Baltimore in 2011. He was a backup to then-24-year-old star running back Ray Rice. "I don't think he could take how selfish that guy was," Ricky's business manager, Elkin King, says of Rice.
"Ray doesn't like to share the ball," agrees Kristin. When Ricky wasn't used even once for short yardage in an elimination playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, it sealed Ricky's decision.
Days after the season ended, he walked into their bedroom at 6:30 a.m. and declared, "I just retired from football."
"I was pissed off," Kristin says. But she wasn't surprised. Instead of buying a house, they rent a unit in a posh apartment building in Plantation.
Though Kristin allows that she is still "pretty much a single parent," Ricky is becoming more of a dad. Having traveled the world alone, he took his first family vacation this summer, to Legoland in Orlando. He recently even cooked dinner for the brood: blackened grouper in a white-wine reduction. He tells his kids "monkey stories" in which he turns characters from obtuse Bible parables into apes, somehow making them easier to visualize.
Ricky believes that children "choose" their parents and eventually find out why they made that choice. He chose his deadbeat dad because it forced him out of childhood by age 6. "What kid doesn't want to grow up quick?" Ricky says. "Kids are powerless."
The argument pivots easily into a defense of his own sometimes-absent parenting. "All of my quote-unquote defects or whatever, [the kids] must know something I don't know because they chose me," he says. "So I don't ever have to feel bad about anything that I do as a parent."
Ricky, who doesn't eat or sleep on a regular schedule, ponders such logic at night, when he plays pool by himself in his apartment building's lobby or strolls the slumbering neighborhood. And he hatches plans. By August, his family will move to Austin — so he can finish his premed degree at UT — or Houston, or they'll not move at all, so he can take classes at Nova Southeastern. He changes his mind nearly every morning.
What Ricky really wants is his first NFL client — to teach him Access Consciousness and other healing practices. "It's not a harmonious relationship," he says of professional athletes and their bodies. "It's almost like slave and master." If Ricky can rid one player of that mindset, he predicts the word of mouth spreading rapidly through NFL locker rooms. He's always said he wanted to change the world. Maybe this, he thinks, is how he'll do it.
Mike Ditka trusts Ricky's healing magic. "If people want to be healed, if you want to live a whole life instead of a half life, I would try what Ricky has to teach," the grizzled retired coach booms when told that Ricky wants to recruit former football players. "I believe in that stuff."
Also read "Ricky Williams Has the Magic Touch."