Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games has shaken up the sports world. Now, it seems that Congress is also involved.
On July 2, Rep. Jaime Raskin (D-MD), chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, penned a letter to the United States Anti-Doping Agency regarding Sha’Carri Richardson and the agency’s decision to suspend her from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
BREAKING: Sbcmte Chair @RepRaskin & @RepAOC sent an urgent letter to @usantidoping & @wada_ama expressing dismay over the suspension of @itskerrii from the @usatf team for marijuana use & urging them to reconsider their policy.https://t.co/25c0e2WMZw
— Oversight Committee (@OversightDems) July 3, 2021
“This punishment, which is not supported by any scientific 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,” Raskin says in the 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.”
In a press release on Friday, July 2, USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart reiterated that “the rules are clear.”
“The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels; 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.”
In a previous rolling out article, we reported how this very same committee handled the situation differently regarding Michael Phelps when he was caught smoking marijuana in 2009, prior to the Beijing Olympics.
Rep. Raskins’ letter was co-signed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Via Twitter, she elaborates on Richardson’s situation.
“We worked with [Rep. Raskin] and the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to formally ask [the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] to end Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension,” the New York congresswoman mentions. “Their decision lacks any scientific basis. It’s rooted solely in the systemic racism that’s long driven anti-marijuana laws.”
We worked with @RepRaskin and the Subcommittee on Civil Rights & Civil Liberties to formally ask @USAntiDoping to end Sha'Carri Richardson's suspension.
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
With a hashtag of #LetShaCarriRun, Rep. Cortez emphasizes that “major league baseball, hockey and football” have all removed former marijuana penalties from their policies. So, she and Rep. Raskin request that the USADA follow suit.
USADA is expected to respond by July 9.