Sha’Carri Richardson’s fans are showing support by adding their signatures to a petition. Fans are rooting for Richardson to compete in the 100-meter dash at the Tokyo Olympics.
As of Monday morning, the petition has garnered over 450,000 signatures.
MoveOn Civic Action, a 501(c)(4) organization, launched the petition on Friday after news broke that the 21-year-old star athlete would face a one-month Olympic team suspension. Richardson tested positive for marijuana, violating an anti-doping rule designed to promote clean competition. The U.S Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released the news on Friday, noting that ‘the rules are clear’.
“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,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart in a statement.
The USADA reported that Richardson accepted a one-month period of ineligibility that started on June 28. This means she is currently not eligible for the 100-meter race. However, there’s a chance for Richardson to run the 4×100 meter relay.
Over 450,000 Signatures Support Sha’Carri Richardson’s Reinstatement
Sha’Carri Richardson witnessed a dream come true when she won the 100-meter dash victory at the U.S Olympic trial. During that time, she also received news that left her in a state of emotional panic.
“Last week, finding out my biological mother passed away and still choosing to pursue my dreams,” Richardson told reporters after winning the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.86 seconds. “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.”
On Friday, Richardson told the “Today” show that she used marijuana as a coping mechanism to deal with her loss.
“I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time,” Richardson shared.
She added, “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?”
MoveOn Civic Action demands a review of the outdated marijuana rules. In the petition, the organization calls out possible racism against a ‘world-class Black, queer, woman athlete’. Cannabis is legal for recreational use among adults in more than a dozen states including Oregon. This is the state where Richardson’s positive drug test was found, NBC Sports reported.
“In no world is marijuana a performance-enhancing drug for runners,” the petition states. “The United States Anti-Doping Agency should drop their penalty and allow Richardson to compete!”
Lawmakers Call on Anti-Doping Agency to Reverse Suspension
Even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is in favor of ending Richardon’s suspension. She believes the USADA’s cannabis rules for athletes are antiquated. She’s joining forces with other lawmakers to request that the International Olympic Committee reverse its one-months suspension of Sha’Carri Richardson.
“This punishment, which is not supported by any specific evidence, may prevent Ms. Richardson from competing in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics just after she inspired the country with her performance in the Olympic Trials last month,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter.
“We urge you to reconsider the policies that led to this and other suspensions for recreational marijuana use, and to reconsider Ms. Richardson’s suspension. Please strike a blow for civil liberties and civil rights by reversing this course you are on.”
Their decision lacks any scientific basis. It’s rooted solely in the systemic racism that’s long driven anti-marijuana laws. pic.twitter.com/F28c5ScI1D — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) July 3, 2021
In a recent tweet, Sha’Carri Richardson expressed her gratitude to her supporters and called out those who have criticized her during this time. “The support [heart emojis] my community I thank y’all,” Richardson wrote. “The negative forget y’all and enjoy the games because we all know it won’t be the same.”
The support 🤎🖤my community I thank y’all , the negative forget y’all and enjoy the games because we all know it won’t be the same 😇.
— Sha’Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) July 4, 2021