She told NBC that the news of her mother’s death “sent me into a state of emotional panic. I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time.” Richardson apologized for letting people down and owned the decision to use marijuana therapeutically. Her interview, which you can see below, might give you a better understanding of how well she is handling this situation.
Responses of support for Richardson came fast. Nike, her sponsor, released this statement saying: “We appreciate Sha’Carri’s honesty and accountability and will continue to support her through this time.”
Many responded by bringing up Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps’ suspension for three months after a photo leaked to the press purporting to show the olympian smoking marijuana out of a bong. Sporting News points out that one of the differences was that Phelps never tested positive for marijuana use, which is the reason there was no movement to delete his times. But let’s be clear, responses of racial inequity in this case are not unfounded. Marijuana laws in our country were created by racists, for racists, and continue to be used in promotion of a white supremacist system of “justice.”
As for whether this might be reversed, Sports Illustrated’s Michael Rosenberg explains that because of the exclusive trial time criteria of the U.S. team, allowing Richardson to still compete would potentially open up a whole host of logistical issues for U.S. Track and Field.
This is why Donavan Brazier won’t run the 800 in Tokyo—he is the best in the world in the 800, but he faltered in the trials and didn’t make the team. If USATF makes an exception for Richardson, that would create a lot of problems. For one, Brazier would have been better off skipping the trials to smoke weed.
Here is Sha’Carri Richardson being America’s fastest woman.