I don’t think Rick deserves defending. But this isn’t a binary, one side is right and the other is wrong situation. Management bears a huge burden here. I wouldn’t want to work with anyone who would knowingly let an employee work 12 hour days, 7 days a week. That’s a sign of a manager who cared more about what they could get out of Rick than about Rick himself. Or Rick’s coworkers for that matter. I don’t want to work on a team where only one person is trusted to do anything. There are so many red flags here.
Nothing I’m saying here is a defense of Rick’s behavior. I’ve worked with guys like that and was immensely relieved when I didn’t have to anymore, and generally wish management had let them go sooner.
And that’s the point here. Management should have intervened much sooner. It sounds like Rick was a good team player at one point (e.g., constantly white-boarding answers for others.) Someone thought their deadline was more important than keeping Rick as a valuable team player.