Former NFL star running back Errick Miron, previously known as Ricky Williams before , dealt with his fair share of off-the-field issues during his NFL career. Miron was suspended multiple times for failed drug tests during his NFL career.
Miron spoke from that position of experience during a recent appearance on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, when he said he wants people to have more empathy when it comes to Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant and his issues away from the court in recent months.
Earlier this month, Morant was seen flashing a gun in two Instagram Live video and is currently suspended indefinitely by the Grizzlies. The league is currently investigating the matter. Last week, Morant, which led to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office (Tenn.) conducting a welfare check at his home.
"Checking on someone's mental health is not waiting until the mental health has gotten to the place where you're afraid," Miron said. "Checking on someone's mental health is caring about what's going on inside of them. And I think through this whole process with Ja Morant, no one's really cared. All they've cared about is that he's breaking rules or not on the court.
"The unfortunate thing about most athletes, is people don't care unless it's interfering with their ability to compete. And that, in itself, is not good for our soul. When the only value that people see from us is what we can contribute to their entertainment and they don't really care about who's on the inside."
Back in March, the Grizzlies star was suspended for eight games after the first time he was seen flashing a gun on Instagram Live, while inside of a Denver nightclub. Following that incident, Morant took responsibility for his actions and agreed to attend counseling.
"When someone puts on a jersey, they're no longer a human being any more," Miron added. "I don't think that's good for athletes, because it alienates them from themselves."
After winning the 1998 Heisman Trophy with the Texas Longhorns, Miron was selected by the New Orleans Saints with the No. 5 pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. During his 11-year NFL career, Miron was suspended twice for failed drug tests and even retired from the sport in 2004. Miron ultimately returned to the NFL for a second stint with the Miami Dolphins and retired in 2011 after a year with the Baltimore Ravens.