Jul 14, 2016

On Ricky Williams, Cults and Sexy Children

Houston Press
JULY 14, 2016

It's been a while since we heard from beloved Austin weirdo and ex-Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, perhaps the most famous member of an odd , Houston-based organization called Access Consciousness. So we were thrilled to read an extensive profile of the former Pro Bowler in Complex.

If you've never heard of Access, the title of the Complex piece — "Ricky Williams is in a Cult" — should give you some idea of what it's like. Access adherents — they call themselves "Accessories" — believe they are beyond human. They're "humanoid." (The group's founder moved from Santa Barbara to Houston sometime after 2012., which brought them closer to Texas blogger Cosmic Connie, whose in-depth research into the group still stands as some of the best work on the subject.)

Many people only became aware of Access after the group donated $50,000 to the nonprofit Ricky Williams Foundation, which at the time appeared to be focused on providing athletic and educational opportunities to underprivileged kids. The Foundation has since expanded to include a "concussion pilot program" for retired NFL players, and the more Access-y sounding goal of helping kids "promote their growth and self actualization."

The profile paints Williams as slightly more than just the pot-lovin' eccentric we've all come to love — Williams has bought fully into the Access aesthetic, becoming one of the group's "facilitators," who are trained to adjust a person's soul the way a chiropractor adjusts a person's spine. (One of Access' leaders is a chiropractor. Make of that what you will).

"The whole thing about Access is ask questions and be open to all information and ignore judgment," Williams is quoted as saying. "So in a way, I was already doing Access before I even knew what it was...[with Access] I thought about my experience in the NFL and receiving so much judgment from my friends, from my family, and from the public. I was able to free myself from those judgments."

That first bit about "asking questions" seems to run counter to Access, which expects its followers to believe things like founder Gary Douglas being able to channel the spirit of Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin. Like, you're just supposed to accept stuff like that. But the hallmark of organizations like Access and its more-established cousin Scientology is to entice folks with things that sound great before they hit you with stuff like Xenu and thetans.

The Complex piece is a great read, but we wish the writer would have prodded Williams a little more about the most troubling aspect of Access, which is this: Douglas, the group's finder, believes that "young children are incredibly sexy." To those of us who aren't card-carrying members of NAMBLA, language like that is a bit spooky.

Accessories don't have any problem with saying something like that, though, because one of Access' tenets is that "everything is just an interesting point of view. It is neither right nor wrong, nor good nor bad." You use candy to invite kids into your windowless white van? How interesting!

It should be noted that, like most other groups that totally aren't cults, Access has idiosyncratic definitions for certain words, so "sexy" in humanoid-speak doesn't mean the same as when boring old humans use it. That argument is, of course, bananas. But the truly problematic thing here is that the Ricky Williams Foundation works with children. And its namesake is a guy who espouses the dogma of an organization that finds kids sexy. That's probably something every parent ought to know before they send their kid off to Williams-Land, no matter how Williams or anyone else defines "sexy." Perhaps Access ought to come up with a better term.

For example, other words to describe kids are "trusting," "impressionable," and "vulnerable." They sure as hell aren't sexy. At least not to humans.

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