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News that a black track and field sprinter who originally qualified for the 2021 Olympics has been suspended for a month for smoking pot and may not make it to the Games at all has her fans predictably playing the race card.
During the U.S. Olympic team trials last month, sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson won the women’s 100 meters event, automatically qualifying her for the Olympics.
Her performance drew widespread attention because former first lady Michelle Obama drew attention to it.
If you haven’t seen it yet, @itskerrii’s race at the Olympic Trials is something to behold—but her grace and grit in this interview might be even more special. We are all so proud of you, Sha’Carri! Can’t wait to see what you do in Tokyo! 👏🏾pic.twitter.com/QPbAQLzF7d
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) June 22, 2021
However, before participating in the trial, Richardson took a drug test and, according to The New York Times, that test has since come back positive. As a result, she’s been suspended till late July.
“The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced the positive test result Friday morning, and said Richardson had accepted a suspension of one month, starting on June 28,” the Times has confirmed.
She could still theoretically compete because track and field events don’t start till the latter portion of July, but only if she’s kept on the U.S. team.
The problem is that, according to reports, it sounds like U.S.A. Track & Field has already begun looking for her replacement.
“[S]everal runners have been told that they have moved up a spot in the final standings. Jenna Prandini, who placed fourth at the trials, has been notified that she will now be one of the three American women running the 100 in Tokyo, and Gabby Thomas, who finished fifth at the trials, was named as an alternate for the race,” according to the Times.
In an interview Friday morning, Richardson claimed she’d smoked marijuana around the time of the Olympic trials because of the unexpected death of her mother.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 2, 2021
The part about her mother’s death was true.
“Minutes after securing her first Olympic berth on Saturday following a dominant victory in the 100 meters, American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson revealed during an emotional post-race interview that her biological mother died last week,” ESPN reported at the time.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, Richardson posted a tweet Thursday evening that pithily read, “I am human.”
I am human
— Sha’Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) July 1, 2021
The tweet provoked an outpouring of sympathy but also anger — with some of Richardson’s fans shrieking about “racism,” “systemic racism,” “white privilege,” etc.
Look (*Language warning):
Free @itskerrii !!!! end the racist war on drugs!!! legalize and regulate all drugs for a safer world!!!
— stardust (@aybayjay) July 2, 2021
This is bullshit that you’re being penalized for this.They’re out here really trying to keep the fastest woman in track OFF THE OLYMPIC TEAM over some racist bullshit. Praying 4 you rn
— LET SHA’CARRI RUN, YOU BASTARDS! (@UOTrackFangirl) July 2, 2021
Oh look, another Black woman having her dreams crushed by systemic racism. (If you believe the “war on drugs” isn’t systemic racism, there’s probably no helping you.)
— Westofer (@Westofer79) July 2, 2021
It’s only because she’s black they want to us down if you were white I’m positive this wouldn’t even came to the media you would still be running racial profiling plenty of NBA NFL AND olympians have smoke weed and much more enhanced drugs it’s FACTZ
— Teaonnah Wiggins (@WigginsTeaonnah) July 2, 2021
Niggas now talking about Phelps as if we don’t know the Olympics are rigged and white privilege is a real thing
— Charlie (@CharlesFromAfar) July 2, 2021
The fact that this Olympian runner has to say she smoked weed cause she was sad her pops died is ridiculous. It’s just fucking weed! Whatever athletic commission oversees the Olympics is just racist
— david (@daviddn_) July 2, 2021
In response to these complaints, critics, some of them very sympathetic to Richardson, fired back by pointing out that rules are rules — and that Richardson is by no means the first athlete to ever be suspended for smoking pot.
You’re calling the World Anti_Doping Agency racist, the same agency that has suspended many White, Asian, and others from competing for doping. That’s right. Russia can’t even compete in olympics in 2022. The entire country. But when they suspend a black person they are racist?
— theeduck2000 (@theeduck2000) July 2, 2021
If anyone tested positive for any banned substance there would be zero difference from what happened here. What concerns me is why people like you don’t realize they are racist. She knew she would be tested and didn’t care, end of story, her skin color doesn’t change anything
— Frank Bannister (@ectogamit) July 2, 2021
It always goes to black and white with some people.. how about you just follow the rules. Every person has to take responsibility for their own actions.
— Don’t be a racist (@Dontbearacist2) July 2, 2021
Weed should not be on the ban list. But come on all that training and you couldn’t put the blunt down. Stop with the racism talk she knew she was going to get tested just like everybody else did. She messed up hopefully she can come back.
— TTKF (@dvargas951) July 2, 2021
“Weed should not be on the ban list,” one of the critics noted.
That’s a fair argument.
But, he continued, that still doesn’t excuse Richardson choosing to smoke marijuana despite know full well that “she was going to get tested just like everybody else.”
That too is a fair argument.
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