By Mary Cunningham
Sha’Carri Richardson, winner of the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic trials, accepted a one-month suspension after testing positive for THC, the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced Friday. Richardson still has a chance to compete with the U.S. relay teams, but her retroactive disqualification at the trials means she is out of the 100-meter race.
The widely criticized decision made it all the way to President Joe Biden on Saturday, with Bo Erickson of CBS asking about Richardson’s suspension at a cherry farm store in Central Lake, Michigan.
After being asked if Richardson’s suspension was fair, Biden responded:
“The rules are the rules and everybody knows what the rules were going in. Whether they should remain that way is a different issue. But the rules are rules, I was really proud of the way she responded.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki had already been asked about Richardson on Friday, calling her suspension an independent decision by the USADA while praising Richardson as an athlete and person:
“I would say first that this was an independent decision made by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and not a decision that would be made by the U.S. government, as is appropriate. We will certainly leave them the space and room to make their decisions about anti-doping policies that need to be implemented.
“I will also note that Sha’Carri Richardson is an inspiring young woman who has gone through a lot personally, and she also happens to be one of the fastest women in the world, and that’s an important part of this story as well.”
Outside of the White House, the decision to suspend Richardson has been met with widespread criticism as a harsh penalty for a non-performance enhancing drug that is legal in many U.S. states and no longer worthy of suspension in the NFL, the NBA and MLB.
Patrick Mahomes and Megan Rapinoe were among those standing with Richardson on Friday, and plenty more could come forward between now and the 100-meter dash in Tokyo.