The White Home on Friday declined to sentence a U.S. Olympics panel for suspending a famed sprinter over a constructive take a look at for marijuana, including one other stage of frustration for advocates who’ve sharply criticized the administration for firing its personal staffers over hashish use. In the meantime, a bipartisan group of members of Congress spoke out towards the penalty on the athlete.
Sha’Carri Richardson, often called the quickest lady in America, was set to compete within the Tokyo Olympics this month earlier than testing constructive for THC in violation of United States Anti-Doping Company (USADA) coverage. The runner admitted to consuming hashish in Oregon, the place marijuana is authorized for grownup use, after studying concerning the demise of her organic mom throughout a press interview.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 2, 2021
Requested whether or not President Joe Biden helps the one-month suspension or want to see a reversal to permit the athlete to take part, White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki mentioned “this was an impartial choice made by the U.S. Anti-Doping Company and never a call that may be made by the U.S. authorities.”
Psaki did go on to notice that Richardson “is an inspiring younger lady who has gone by way of loads personally—and she or he additionally occurs to be one of many quickest ladies on this planet.”
And that lady will miss a key Olympics occasion given the one-month suspension; nevertheless, the punishment is ready to finish by the point she would probably take part in one other race if she stays on the U.S. crew following the hashish controversy.
“That’s an necessary a part of the story as properly,” Psaki mentioned, “so that is an impartial choice by the the U.S. Anti-Doping Company, however I additionally felt it was necessary to notice, who she is and her historical past.”
— Sha’Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) July 1, 2021
However whereas the press secretary appeared to empathize with the runner and acknowledge her expertise, she didn’t straight tackle the query about the place President Joe Biden stands and gave a notable deferential response that pitted full duty on the nation’s athletic governing physique.
For advocates, the administration’s declining to take a stand in protection of the sprinter is one other disappointment and indicators once more that it’s unwilling to face up for reform, even in distinctive circumstances like Richardson’s case.
And on the identical time that it’s selecting to not explicitly criticize the sports-related sanction, the administration has come beneath hearth this yr for terminating or in any other case punishing staffers who had been trustworthy about their previous hashish use as a part of the background examine course of.
Psaki subsequently mentioned that no one within the White Home was fired for “marijuana usage from years ago,” nor has anybody been terminated “as a result of informal or rare use in the course of the prior 12 months.” Nevertheless, she’s constantly declined to talk to the extent to which workers have been suspended or positioned in a distant work program as a result of they had been trustworthy about their historical past with marijuana on a federal kind that’s a part of the background examine course of.
It isn’t simply activists who’re condemning Richardson’s suspension. A number of members of Congress and federal candidates have slammed the company over the transfer.
Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), for instance, wrote a letter to USADA and the World Anti-Doping Company expressing “dismay” on the punishment.
“The ban on marijuana is a major and pointless burden on athletes’ civil liberties,” the 2 lawmakers, who’re respectively the chair and vice-chair of the Home Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, wrote.
“The divergent remedy of leisure alcohol and marijuana use displays out of date stereotypes about hashish merchandise and a profound misunderstanding of the relative dangers of each substances,” they mentioned, noting that major sports leagues such because the NFL, MLB and NBA are making strikes to scale back or eliminate cannabis punishments for gamers.
BREAKING: Sbcmte Chair @RepRaskin & @RepAOC despatched an pressing letter to @usantidoping & @wada_ama expressing dismay over the suspension of @itskerrii from the @usatf crew for marijuana use & urging them to rethink their coverage.https://t.co/25c0e2WMZw
— Oversight Committee (@OversightDems) July 3, 2021
“We’re additionally involved that the continued prohibition of marijuana whereas your organizations enable leisure use of alcohol and different medication displays anti-drug legal guidelines and insurance policies which have traditionally focused Black and Brown communities whereas largely condoning drug use in white communities,” they mentioned.
Their choice lacks any scientific foundation. It is rooted solely within the systemic racism that is lengthy pushed anti-marijuana legal guidelines. pic.twitter.com/F28c5ScI1D
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) July 3, 2021
A variety of different lawmakers criticized the suspension in social media posts:
One other instance of the influence of our nation’s outdated, dangerous hashish legal guidelines. And one more reason why I’m preventing so laborious to finish the federal prohibition of hashish to right these injustices. https://t.co/L3tbE5Qjbq
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) July 2, 2021
Sha’Carri is an unbelievable athlete with a shiny future. That her goals are being crushed over a substance that must be authorized throughout the nation is devastating and unsuitable. Her heartfelt apology reveals her power even within the face of adversity.https://t.co/PeohD20Emo
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) July 2, 2021
The press who love to wash within the intersectionality of race-gender-sports ought to ask @JoeBiden if he believes Sha’carri Richardson must be barred from representing America for utilizing a drug authorized in most states that doesn’t influence efficiency.
I positive as hell don’t.#unwoke46
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) July 2, 2021
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) July 2, 2021
The criminalization and banning of hashish is an instrument of racist and colonial coverage.
The IOC ought to rethink its suspension of Ms. Richardson and any athletes penalized for hashish use. This ruling alongside w/ IOC denial of swim caps for pure hair is deeply troubling. https://t.co/Ao1Yu8Ax9G
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 2, 2021
Time to get actual America. It’s previous time to cease the failed Struggle on Medication. What’s occurring to Sha’Carri Richardson is only one extra instance of its collateral injury giant and small.
— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) July 2, 2021
Marijuana is just not a efficiency enhancing drug. Old-fashioned & discriminatory marijuana legal guidelines trickle down & have life-altering penalties. It is shameful.@RepBlumenauer & I are urging USADA to rethink. Sha’Carri deserves to compete on the world stage. #LetRichardsonRun https://t.co/a7pJbqfUFt
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) July 2, 2021
Right here’s what must occur:
1. Let Sha’Carri run.
2. Legalize hashish.
3. Decriminalize all medication. https://t.co/4y8TY99fWy
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) July 2, 2021
There isn’t a want for Sha’Carri to apologize.
We have to eliminate archaic guidelines for a substance that’s absolutely authorized in 19 states plus DC.
And we have to legalize it on the federal stage. https://t.co/Ws0n8ykKIP
— Congressman Jamaal Bowman (@RepBowman) July 2, 2021
Legalize marijuana. https://t.co/Hw6YLj02Fs
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) July 2, 2021
Marijuana is just not a performance-enhancing drug. This outdated pondering wants to vary. Let Sha’Carri run. https://t.co/C4GAc6pWHa
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) July 2, 2021
It’s time to legalize hashish, regulate it, tax it, and cease treating individuals who use it as criminals. The present legislation is ruining lives not saving them. https://t.co/PJBcaQrA4c
— Rep. Dean Phillips 🇺🇸 (@RepDeanPhillips) July 2, 2021
Sha’Carri shouldn’t be disqualified. Hashish must be authorized.
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) July 2, 2021
Nobody must be in jail for smoking marijuana.
Nobody ought to lose their job (or have a felony document) for having smoked it.
*AND* nobody ought to ever be banned from athletic competitors bc of it.
Finish the stigma • Legalize it • Restore communities which have been broken
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) July 2, 2021
In the meantime, a robust congressional committee not too long ago a report earlier this week that urges federal businesses to rethink insurance policies that outcome within the firing of workers who use marijuana legally in accordance with state law.
Picture courtesy of Philip Steffan.