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Former NFL player Ricky Williams has announced he’s dropping yet another cannabis line.
Months after the 1998 Heisman Trophy recipient announced the launch of his wittily-named Highsman brand, news broke that Williams is partnering with another cannabis brand, Jeeter, on a sporty package stoked with an indica named after “Sticky Ricky” himself.
The vape and pre-roll included in the Jeeter x Highsman package are made with an exclusive indica strain called, yes, Sticky Ricky, which Williams says is one of his nicknames. The drop’s locker-themed packaging is emblazoned with Williams’ 34 jersey.
Proceeds from the collaboration will go to Athletes 4 Care, a nonprofit that was founded in 2017 to advocate for cannabis access for sports players of all types. Williams is one of the non-profit’s 250+ roster of athlete ambassadors, a list that includes players who have competed in the NBA, NHL, MILB, and a variety of other pro sports leagues from rugby to boxing, and who are concerned with professional leagues’ restrictive marijuana consumption policies.
The connection between pro sports and cannabis access is far from limited to marketing hype. As highlighted by the NFL’s 2021 announcement that it would be funding research on CBD as an opioid painkiller alternative, cannabis products hold promise as palliatives for the brutal impacts visited on the bodies of many pro athletes.
And albeit that Williams’ latest line is ostensibly a charity endeavor, let us be the first to say that the man deserves to cash in on whatever legal cannabis money he can. As a 10,000-yard career running back for the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, and other teams, Williams said he was made to take 500 drug tests during his time as a professional football career.
He tested positive for cannabis no less than five times, resulting in suspensions, lost pay, and public scrutiny at a time in which the benefits of cannabis for professional athletes were not as well understood.
Williams began his first cannabis line, Real Wellness, back in 2018.
Today, the retired pro is not shy when it comes to talking about weed. The punny Highsman line is a nod to the fact that, Williams said, “I wouldn’t have won the Heisman without [cannabis].” He’s been open about the fact that social anxiety disorder made his pro years a challenge — and that using cannabis helped with overcoming the condition’s symptoms.
True to form, Williams is using the Jeeter x Highsman press junket as an opportunity to expound on weed and mental health conditions. “I feel like even six months ago, if you were talking about cannabis and mental health, people would look at you like you’re weird,” he told TMZ.
“When I started smoking by myself,” he continued in the same interview, “I would reflect on my day, reflect on my life, and say, ‘Damn, I could have done this better.’”
But perhaps his best line of this marketing cycle — and one that aptly sums up the importance of breaking down cannabis stigma and prohibitionist policies in pro sports — was delivered in an ad for his latest cannabis product: “If I’m taking hits on the field, you better believe I’m taking hits off the field, too.”