“I still don’t know as I sit here talking to you whether this is a product of him being bipolar or mentally ill or it’s a product of him being the only sane person out there and the rest of us worshiping the wrong things.”
– ESPN personality Dan Le Batard on NFL star Rickey Williams.
After watching the documentary “Run, Rickey, Run,” you’ll know a few things about Williams.
The guy is no prophet. Heck, he may have some serious emotional and mental problems.
But in the end, he’s trying to be a better person and he can still play football.
Perhaps that’s all anyone can ask from the dude.
Directed by Sean Pamphilon and Royce Toni, this film paints three sides of the former Heisman trophy winner. One being an enigmatic football sensation who was doomed to deal with his celebrity due to an abusive and demanding childhood, with another being a selfish, egotistical stoner who’s lost in his own success and the last, a dedicated husband and father.
The only problem is that there seems to be a little too much favoritism on Pamphilon’s part towards the latter. In the beginning of the film, he states he was out to tell the whole truth about Williams’ walk-out on the Miami Dolphins because that’s what Williams wanted. However, Williams’ dark side is never fully exposed. Instead, the piece has more of an uplifting flavor, focusing more on the positive things in his life, such as his rise out of depression and towards family life.
Not that that’s a horrible thing, but after seeing Williams ramble for a few minutes in interviews and the state of his dilapidated home, you’ll want to learn more about his fall from grace. Hearing about his childhood and love life puts many things into perspective and you begin to learn why the speedster is the way he is, but you never hear too much about any of these developments from the man himself.
That above all else hurts the overall staying power of this documentary.
However, when things begin to get positive, Williams seemingly comes out of his shell and is much more willing to talk.
Strange, but human nonetheless.
In spite of this, Pamphilon manages the waves enough to create as close to a multi-faceted view of the Williams situation and paints him as realistically and hopeful as he can.
As well, regardless of its flaws, this documentary will enthrall you. It doesn’t matter if you are a football fan or not. A story of the human spirit, Williams puts the pieces back together as much as he can, considering he was never put together right in the first place.
Watching that process unfold is an enjoyable one and one that will attract you immensely, even if you don’t know that anything about football or that Williams is the only NFLer to have a six-year-gap between 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
When it’s all said and done, this is a story about a man who told the world to take him or leave him.
Ask anyone in Miami what their decision was and that’s your story.
Perfectly imperfect, there’s a little bit of Williams in all of us.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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