Kraft Dinner


Looking very dapper and professional in his new gray suit with complementary gray stripped tie, Ted Williams appeared on CBS “The Early Show” today to update us on his progress.

He looks like a new person with new clothes, glasses and teeth but the question is—has a transformation taken place inside also? He did seem more relaxed and centered as he answered questions about leaving rehab and his future plans. He said too much came at him all at once and the added pressure of a reunion with his family was just too much. He said he agreed to go to rehab without thinking it through, “That was probably a very rushed decision….It was too much, too fast, and I was just not really focused on what I should be doing. I felt scripted.” He said he was doing live phone-ins to the TV show from rehab when he should have been in classes. He added he loved Dr. Phil but it was all just too much.

He says he is currently living in a sober house for the voiceover community in Los Angeles and is dedicating himself to his new Second Chance Foundation. According to Williams’ manager, Al Battle, he is surrounded by a small group of specialists including a minister, psychologist and people from Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous who are with him around the clock.

In an article in the Columbus Dispatch February 4, it reports that many of the offers that came in the beginning have faded away after the companies learned of Williams’s addictions and arrest records. A spokesman for NFL films said they are using caution. Kevin McLoughlin, director of post-production films said, “We have to see that he (Ted) is on the right path. In this business, you can’t have a drug and alcohol problem.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers have also backed off of their original offer. A Cavs news release said the team remains available to help Williams discuss “work interests” and “create a path for future professional success”—but only if he is healthy, willing, and beyond the “critical personal challenges” he faces. In addition, some promotional spots Williams did for MSNBC Lean Forward Campaign have been taken off the air and a spokesman said they have no further plans to work with him.

However, a bright spot in this saga is that the commercials Williams made for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese are still running and he has been paid for this gig. Battle says offers continue to come in from as far away as Germany and Japan.

It is hard to believe it has been only a little over a month since Ted Williams left the streets and became an instant celebrity. He has gone from a tent to pricy hotels overnight, from toast of the town to rehab, from rehab to a sobriety house all within a period of a few weeks. He has been on a roller coaster of emotions during that time with the excitement of the lights of fame and the lows of reopening old family wounds. Has he learned from these experiences? Is he surrounding himself with the right people? Is he able to walk away from the temptations of his old life? There will be many people hanging on and trying to take advantage of his new fame.

Williams has been given something not many people receive—a second chance. Is he able to clean up on the inside to match his new image? The one encouraging aspect of all his interviews is his continued expression of his faith. May God be with you, Ted Williams—we are all rooting for you. (See also Is Ted Williams Being Exploited?–January 2011)