Support for Sha'Carri Richardson is growing as tens of thousands lend their voice to a call to have the sprinter reinstated to the Olympic team.
Last week Richardson received a 30-day ban after testing positive for cannabis and on Tuesday was left off the U.S. team for the 4x100-meter relay. Since then, a Change.org petition has been gaining momentum. As of Wednesday morning, the petition addressed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had gained over 66,000 signatures.
"Recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states, including Oregon, where Richardson competed in the U.S. Olympic team trials and reportedly failed the drug test. Additionally, cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug and could put a runner at more of a disadvantage during a race," the petition reads.
"Sha'Carri Richardson should not be barred from realizing her dream of competing in the 2021 Olympic Games. She did not gain any competitive advantage from the reported use of marijuana. Richardson and athletes everywhere should not be banned from competition for the use of a widely legalized drug. Please sign this petition to help Richardson fight to be allowed to compete in the Olympic games."
Dozens of celebrities and athletes have now shown their support for Richardson. Seth Rogen, Cardi B, Patrick Mahomes, Dwayne Wade, U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe, and Gabrielle Union all spoke out against the decision to cut Richardson from the team.
Olympic Gold Medalist soccer player Sydney Leroux also addressed the situation on Twitter.
"We need to look at what athletes are being given to deal with the mental and physical demands of their sport. If Xanax and opioids are legal, then marijuana should be too," she wrote. Leroux was referencing Richardson's admission that she had used marijuana to help her cope with the death of her mother.
Former Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson was another prominent name to speak out about Richardson's ban.
"I don’t know why marijuana is banned," he tweeted. "Maybe a good reason. Maybe not. I know how it feels to lose a parent. Indescribable pain! I’m from the same neighborhood as @itskerrii Tough place! I wish people would stop calling her and this ban stupid unless you know the reason for both."
President Joe Biden commented on the topic on Saturday, praising Richardson for how she had handled the situation, but noting that he did not think the athlete should be reinstated to the U.S. Olympic track team
"Well, the rules are the rules," Biden said, according to New York Post. "But I was really proud of the way she responded."
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