November 13, 2008
Dolphins running back and former recluse Ricky Williams talks to Playboy in its December issue, addressing his social anxiety, how weird it was when he was a Saint, and his relationships with his children and their mothers.
Also up for discussion? The famous ESPN the Magazine cover where he wore a wedding dress next to Mike Ditka.
"In 9th grade, I dressed as a cheerleader on Halloween. It was my idea to wear the wedding dress. I didn't think it would offend anyone. I just wanted to show my relationship with Ditka. I was looking at myself, not as a football player, but as an open, interesting person. The reaction from reporters and fans was shocking. I didn't see why it was such a big deal for a football player not to be afraid to be in touch with that side of himself. It doesn't make sense that a football player is supposed to be fearless but should be afraid to be in touch with his feminine side."
At the time, I think it was widely assumed that someone at ESPN talked him into putting the dress on, and the attitude was, "My goodness, look what they did to poor Ricky. Now everyone's going to think he's a transvestite."
Turns out, it was his idea, and he saw nothing wrong with it. Truthfully, neither do I. It's just an amusing photo, satirizing the long-term bond that he and Coach Ditka had entered into at that point. And jeez, even if it was a guy who liked putting on a pretty dress ... as long as he shows up and plays on Sundays, who cares? If you're getting 4.5 a carry, I say you can wear Hello Kitty panties under your uniform.
This was nine years ago now, and it's still something that people want to talk about. I guess Ricky should take it as a compliment that he's that fascinating a guy.
The Playboy issue hits stands this week. Much love, Deadspin.
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