Is Ricky Williams' Foundation For Kids Being Funded By A Cult?

Categories: Sports
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Also read "Ricky Williams: NFL Football Healer."

When the Ricky Williams Foundation lost out on a $32 million investment in the spring, founder and former NFL star Ricky Williams thought his charity was finished. But along came Gary Douglas, the founder of a self-help group called Access Consciousness. He agreed to support the foundation, and together, the two would show the kids the way of Access.

Sounds great, right? Positive thinker saves a charitable group, educates the children, all that good stuff. But what if that positive thinker believes that his philosophy has taught him how to read people's minds and heal the sick with his touch? And what if his self-help group hews closer to a money-grabbing cult in which members are taught that a combination of massage and quantum physics can help them achieve anything?

Those are the questions coming up after a blog post in the Austin Chronicle revealed the partnership between Williams' foundation and Access Consciousness.

In a long, rambling interview, Williams, Douglas and Access co-founder Dr. Dain Heer explained the movement's quasi-religious yet endlessly vague beliefs, and that the foundation wants to teach kids how to open their minds through a series of Access classes.

We wanted to learn more about the group, so we called a local Access instructor, Jackie O'Neil, to ask her about the classes.

She tells Riptide that Access is "about asking questions. We don't actually teach anything. We bring up energy in your being." She adds that, for children, the goal is to get them to realize that they're capable of coming up with brilliant ideas. "We tell them that they're special. We empower them."

Even after talking to O'Neil, it's hard to get a spin on exactly what Access Consciousness is looking to do. The group--which has the pleasant yet reductive motto of "Empowering people to know what they know" - doesn't share much, if any, of its methods on its website.

The entry-level class, "Access Bars," is a hands-on-body class in which 32 different points on the head are touched to release "all the limiting thoughts, ideas, attitudes, decisions and beliefs that you have ever had, about anything." They liken this to deleting files off a computer's hard drive, which suggests that no one at Access has ever used a computer.

From there, Access members can move up to Foundation classes, then the Scientology-sounding Levels 1, 2 and 3. Not much is written about those, except that it apparently involves some positive imaging ideas straight out of The Secret. Oh, and you have to fork over several hundred dollars and many hours to learn it.

With the Austin Chronicle's post getting picked up by Deadspin and Pro Football Talk, you can expect that there will be many more questions asked of Williams, Douglas and the connection between the foundation and Access.

We weren't able to get comment from either Access Consciousness headquarters or from the Ricky Williams Foundation.

For now, though, we'd advise hooking your kids up with a different organization run by an ex-NFLer. Jason Taylor's foundation, at last check, was still doing good, non-culty work.

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It's interesting that what I thought was just a conversation with you Jon re your inquiry into attending an upcoming class I was having, has turned into an interview that you have quoted me from. It would have been gracious of you to let me know that you would not be attending after we had arranged that you would and also for you to have replied to my offer of running your 'Bars' also so you could have had a direct experience of Access Consciousness...the very thing you were asking for...complimentary. Thank you for showing me where I cut off my own awareness of what was really going on. You did indeed have a lovely telephone manner. I don't know Ricky Williams personally but there are numerous tele summits where plenty of the Access tools can be heard, including the World Puja Network where Gary Douglas and Dain Heer can be heard regularly and also their own personal websites. I hope this assists you and anyone else in finding out more about Access. Best regards, Jackie O'Neal



Jon Tayler could do some research on what cults are before making accusations about a group supporting underprivileged youth at risk.


This is nothing new, as it seems to be par for course once a group gets to a certain size that wildy accusations fly. But, if you actually look at what a cult is and what Access Consciousness does- you'd be plain stupid to try and make that claim.


Access does not even take a percentage from the classes that it's facilitators do 'within' the structure of the group. What cult doesn't take $$$ from it's 'members'? Of course, the classes cost money. Have you seen what Tony Robbins charges for his 'motivational' talks? 


In addition, Access Consciousness cannot successfully propagate as a cult since it encourages people to perceive and to know and to acknowledge that ‘No one and nothing is more valuable than your consciousness and your choice and most importantly to never give up your point of view for somebody else’. Access Consciousness does not require you to take the point of view about anything. 


Thanks for the press, though. For those who wish to inform themselves, here's a start: 


Please, do these kids a favor and do your research. Or at the very least stop to think about what these articles are doing to these kids.


It seems to me that the Ricky Williams foundation is a place for kids to come and feel beautiful, and special, and great about themselves. 


I don't know about all of you, but I grew up around more people that always told you that you have to be better, or you can't become anything because of where you came from.


These kids in the foundation are at risk. Some of these kids come from homes that most of us are lucky enough not to have experienced, and only see it in documentaries or in the news. 


Before you write articles or bash the foundation for being involved in a cult, or whatever else you can think of to write about a former NFL star to put him down or to tarnish his image...


Stop and think about what it is doing to these kids at home. right now. right this second.


So what if someone tells you "You can become anything" or " Your special" or " Your beautiful" 


Isn't that something that even adults don't hear enough of these days?


I for one, wouldn't care if its a cult, jesus, buddah, my mom, a friend, or a homeless guy on the street said any of the above to me. It is great and empowering to hear. 


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