Nearly two weeks after 21-year-old Sha’Carri Richardson made headlines for her victory in the women’s 100-meter event at the U.S. Olympic Team trials, she was hit with a one-month suspension — a penalty that may lead to her exclusion in the Tokyo Olympics. Following the love she received since her monumental win, the Texas native apologized to her fans and sponsors, explaining that she resorted to marijuana to help cope with the loss of her biological mother.
Richardson’s supporters, however, were not upset with the 21-year-old and instead took to Twitter to compare her actions and ensuing punishment to the discipline Olympians Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps experienced for similar actions.
In 2017, during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Lochte alleged that he and three fellow swimmers were robbed at gunpoint while they were on their way home after a party. He later admitted that he was intoxicated and got into an altercation with the “burglars” as a result of his drunken behavior.
“This is such bullshit,” user @owoathkeeper wrote. “Ryan Lochte caused an international incident and that asshole still gets to compete.”
@leftcoastbabe questioned the logic behind Richardson’s suspension for marijuana use. “Will ANYONE explain to me how marijuana does anything for your performance in a race except slow you down?” she wrote. “If Sha’Carri Richardson had only done something less serious like vandalized a gas station and lied about it.”
While many assumed Lochte was not punished for his actions, he was actually suspended from the U.S. swim team for 10 months. He also faced lying charges for exaggerating the details of the robbery, but the charges were later dropped.
Phelps, social media users alleged, has been able to win several gold medals despite the fact that he smokes weed.
“Marijuana? This is ridiculous if true,” tweeted @ChuckModi1. “Sha’Carri Richardson deserves better. Do you have any idea all the shyt media and police looked the other way to allow Michael Phelps to keep swimming?”
“Michael Phelps won a zillion medals with DANK in his lungs,” added podcaster Kazeem Fayumide. “What are we doing here?” @Good_Die_Younqq mentioned a photo of the swimmer smoking a bong, but @SmylyThe3rd clarified that that particular picture resulted in Phelps being suspended for three months. The Olympian also lost sponsorship deals in conjunction with the ban.
See below for the comparisons made between Sha’Carri Richardson, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte after the 21-year-old’s suspension.