Track and field sensation Sha’Carri Richardson has been suspended for 30 days after testing positive for marijuana after her June 19th race. The US Olympian admitted fault after news of the positive test went public. She also apologized to her fans, supporters, and sponsors. Her suspension started on June 28th and ends July 28th. The Olympics begin on July 23rd and end on August 8th. Unfortunately, this means that the timing of her suspension overlaps the Olympics, so she may miss some of the events that she is eligible to compete in.
Richardson’s 30-day suspension garnered a ton of reaction online and off. Some say that Richardson is dumb and uncaring because she knows what the rules are but blatantly chose to violate them. Others say that marijuana shouldn’t be a drug that earns someone a suspension from anything including the Olympics. Others point out the hypocrisy of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC allows transgender women to compete against biological women but a person who smokes weed gets suspended. Much of the online chatter about Richardson appear to be knee-jerk reactions to the news of her suspension and don’t appear to come from a place of research.
Sha’Carri Richardson’s biological mother died just one week before her Olympics-qualifying race on June 19th, 2021. Most major news outlets refer to Richardson’s mother with the “biological” tag before it because she was raised by her Grandmother and Aunt. This is why she ran into the stands after winning that June 19th race to hug her Grandmother in an outpouring of emotion. The 21-year-old track star admitted to using marijuana in an attempt to deal with her biological mother’s death. This is not an excuse for Richardson to use drugs, but it does give some context behind the poor decision that she owned up to and apologized for.
The proverbial “peanut gallery” have brought Michael Phelps name into the mix because he was caught smoking weed but was still able to compete. Although once a person does a little more research, Phelps had a much different situation than Richardson.
A picture of Michael Phelps smoking weed from a “bong” surfaced online. This picture alone (never a drug test) prompted a 3-month suspension of Phelps. However, his suspension was beyond the window of competition. So it did not affect his ability to compete and win. If Richardson was suspended for 30 days in May, then her ability to compete in Tokyo would most likely not be compromised. This is because the suspension would be over before the beginning of the Olympics.
The suspension of Michael Phelps prompted the IOC to reduce suspensions from three months to 30 days. So Sha’Carri Richardson actually received a lesser punishment than Michael Phelps. Race and gender are not issues here. The issue is simply a suspension due to a banned substance. Several other athletes have been suspended for the exact same thing from countries all over the world. The entire Russian Federation is banned from the next two Olympics due to systemic doping. Maybe the IOC does need to tighten up some of it’s rules that come off as blatantly hypocritical, but that is another argument for another day.
U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson suspended for one month after failed drug test
Olympics: Sha’Carri Richardson tests positive for marijuana
Sha’Carri Richardson Suspended for One Month After Positive Test for Marijuana – The New York Times
Olympics 2021: Laurel Hubbard, New Zealand weightlifter, will be first transgender athlete to compete in Games – CBSSports.com
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