Sports World Reacts After Sha'Carri Richardson Receives Olympic Ban for Marijuana

Adam WellsJuly 2, 2021

Sha'Carri Richardson celebrates after winning the first heat of the semis finals in women's 100-meter runat the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials Saturday, June 19, 2021, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Sha'Carri Richardson's one-month Olympic ban for a positive drug test has drawn the ire of the sports world. 

The United States Anti-Doping Agency issued a statement Friday announcing that Richardson's post-race test June 19 came back positive for marijuana. 

Richardson issued an apology for the situation Friday in an interview with Savannah Guthrie on Today. She said she began using marijuana as a coping mechanism shortly before the United States Olympic Trials after learning her biological mother died. 

Reactions from athletes across the sports world have been coming in since Richardson's suspension was announced (warning: some tweets contain strong language):

Eric Ebron @Ebron85

the fact people are still getting punished for marijuana when most of the big “corporations” have their hands in the industry makes 0 sense. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FreeShacarri?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FreeShacarri</a>

Damian Lillard @Dame_Lillard

This that bullshit. <a href="https://t.co/CAIHF0rRnC">https://t.co/CAIHF0rRnC</a>

Odell Beckham Jr @obj

This is bull Shxt……tbh

DWade @DwyaneWade

In a world where people are literally making millions upon millions growing and selling it! Y’all ever heard of a fine? <a href="https://t.co/F3nfvJxVES">https://t.co/F3nfvJxVES</a>

DWade @DwyaneWade

But majority of y’all rule makers smoke and probably are investors in THC companies. Let’s stop playing these games <a href="https://t.co/hT3H6kw45T">https://t.co/hT3H6kw45T</a>

Patrick Mahomes II @PatrickMahomes

This is so trash man… just let her run! <a href="https://t.co/tFY8omt215">https://t.co/tFY8omt215</a>


if it ain’t crack let her run track

Flash Garrett ⚡️ @MylesLGarrett

And y’all wonder why Naomi Osaka didn’t want to partake in her interviews… this is just so wrong <a href="https://t.co/27XIlneA7O">https://t.co/27XIlneA7O</a>

As part of USADA's official discipline, Richardson's suspension will run through July 28. That makes her ineligible to participate in the women's 100 meters at the Tokyo Olympics.

Richardson would have entered the Olympics later this month as one of the favorites to win gold in the 100. The 21-year-old won the women's U.S. Olympic Trials event last month. 

Per World Athletics, Richardson's 10.72-second run at the Ansin Sports Complex in Florida on April 10 is the sixth-fastest time ever recorded in the women's 100. 

Richardson could be cleared to take part in the 4x100-meter relay for the U.S. women's team at the Olympics on Aug. 6 if she is added to the squad. 

Several North American professional sports leagues have relaxed rules on marijuana use in recent years. The NHL still tests players for marijuana, but they aren't disciplined if it comes back positive. 

Major League Baseball has removed marijuana from its list of banned substances, though players are subject to discipline if they "break existing marijuana laws, such as possession and distribution, as well as for driving under the influence."

As part of the new NFL collective bargaining agreement that was ratified last year, players will no longer be suspended for a positive marijuana test. The league also reduced the testing period from four months to two weeks, and the threshold for a positive has been raised from 35 nanograms of THC to 150.