There’s a petition for Sha’Carri Richardson to rejoin the Olympic team and the signature list is growing every minute.
As of Saturday afternoon, the petition has garnered over 300,000 signatures.
Fans of Sha’Carri Richardson were outraged when news broke that the 21-year-old track star would face a 30-day Olympic team suspension after testing positive for marijuana. The U.S Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) formally announced her suspension on Friday, noting that Richardson accepted a one-month suspension that started on June 28.
“The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart in a statement released on July 2. “Hopefully, her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of this one to her.”
MoveOn Civic Action, a 501(c)(4) organization, responded immediately. The organization launched a petition to allow Richardson to compete in the 100-meter dash.
“The world is coming together for a Summer Olympics postponed by a global pandemic, and we deserve to see the best athletes in fair, open competition,” the petition reads. “That includes Sha’Carri Richardson, whose one-month penalty is excessively punitive for an irrational, outdated rule.”
Last month, Sha’Carri Richardson won the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.86 seconds at the U.S Olympic trials. This secured her status as one of the fastest women in America and earned her a spot to represent the country in the 100-meter dash at the Tokyo Olympics.
During this momentous occasion, Richardson also had to digest some unexpected news.
“Last week, finding out my biological mother passed away and still choosing to pursue my dreams,” Richardson told reporters after her victory at the U.S. Olympic trials. “Still coming out here…still here to make the family that I do still have on this earth proud. And the fact [is] nobody knows what I go through. Everybody has struggles and I understand that. But y’all see me on this track. Y’all see the poker face I put on. But nobody but them and my coach know what I go through on a day-to-day basis.”
On Friday morning, Richardson participated in an interview with the “Today” show to talk about her suspension and how her mother’s death impacted her. She told Savannah Guthrie that she used marijuana as a coping mechanism.
“It sent me into a state of emotional panic,” Richardson said. “I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time.”
Richardson also stated that she takes full responsibility for her actions and noted that ‘I am human’. She shares the stress of having to put on a performance to realize her dream while dealing with personal pain.
“Who am I to tell you how to cope when you’re dealing with a pain or you’re dealing with a struggle that you’ve never experienced before, or that you’ve never thought you would have to do it?” she shared. “Like who am I to tell you how to cope? Who am I to tell you that you are wrong for hurting?”
Petition to Support Sha’Carri Richardson
MoveOn Civic Action stands by Sha’Carri Richardson. The organization is speaking out and collecting signatures to help Richardson reclaim her spot in this year’s 100-meter dash competition at the Olympics. They are advocating that the Olympics and USADA review their outdated rules around marijuana and athletes.
“In no world is marijuana a performance-enhancing drug for runners, and in more places in the United States and around the world, marijuana use is legal,” the petition states. “The United States Anti-Doping Agency should drop their penalty and allow Richardson to compete!”