It’s not a good week to be Sha’Carri Richardson.
The famous sprinter, who has seemingly become a global sensation overnight for her history-making runs, was expected to be a shining star at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Her popularity, characterized in part by her athleticism as well as flamboyant personal style (i.e. hair & nails), has even drawn comparisons to the legendary Florence Joyner (FloJo).
However, after testing positive for marijuana use during a recent routine drug screening, Richardson was suspended from the U.S. Olympic team and barred from running her signature race in Tokyo.
The news marks only the beginning of a controversial period for Richardson.
‘Because Richardson’s failed test occurred after she won the women’s 100-meter dash at U.S. Olympic Trials, it nullifies her first-place finish and disqualifies her from the event in Tokyo. USADA announced Friday that Richardson had accepted a one-month suspension that began June 28 and expires July 28, before track and field events begin in Tokyo. USA Track and Field could, therefore, select her for a relay team, but its rules require it to enter the top three finishers at trials in the 100. And Richardson is no longer one of them.
Richardson’s one-month suspension is the minimum punishment for a positive marijuana test. The maximum is a years-long suspension, but WADA guidance allows for reduced bans “if the athlete can establish that any ingestion or use occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sport performance.”‘
As seen in the video above, Richardson appeared on NBC’s ‘TODAY Show’ Friday morning (July 2) and said:
“I just want to take responsibility for my actions, I know what I did, I know what I’m supposed to do, I’m allowed not to do and I still made that decision. I’m not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case.”
Richardson said her drug use was due to finding out from a reporter that her biological mother had passed away.
“I was just thinking it would be a normal interview and then on the interview to hear that information come from a complete stranger, it was definitely triggering, it was nerve shocking because it’s like who are you to tell me that?”
From some calling for the marijuana ban to be struck down while others criticized her for consuming the drug knowing the Olympics’ stance on drug consumption, Sha’carri’s suspension drew mixed reactions.
Shortly before the Olympian drama, however, there was a bit more uniformity in the court of public opinion after resurfaced tweets from the sprinter raced to the top of Twitter’s trending list. Posted the same weekend controversial singer-rapper Lil Nas X unveiled his shocking ‘Call Me By Your Name’ music video and Satan Shoe, the 21-year-old – who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community herself – called for his supporters to keep their distance.
‘If your [sic] support Lil Nas X, you can unfollow me,’ the tweet said.
The tweet’s resurfacing came six years after a then-15-year-old Sha’carri posted other controversial opinions including a homophobic statement (seen below).
Four years later, she was branded a ‘Chris Brown apologist’ for her polarizing stance on his Rihanna incident.
Needless to say, social media didn’t take the resurfaced tweets well.
[photo sources: Getty Images/AP Images/Twitter]