Nike released a statement on Friday (July 2) saying it will continue to support Sha’Carri Richardson after the U.S. sprinter was suspended for one month from her Olympic team for testing positive for marijuana. Richardson has been a Nike-sponsored athlete since 2019.
“We appreciate Sha’Carri’s honesty and accountability and will continue to support her through this time,” the company said, per ESPN reporter Aaron Dodson.
As reported by REVOLT, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced on Friday that Richardson’s marijuana use vacated her victory at last month’s U.S. Olympic trials in Oregon. The 21-year-old will not be able to compete in the Olympic 100-meter race due to her suspension, but may be able to compete on the women’s 4×100 relay team after it’s been lifted.
Appearing on the “TODAY” show, Richardson said she ingested marijuana to cope with her emotions after a reporter informed her that her biological mother had passed away. The Texas native said the devastating news sent her into an “emotional panic,” especially combined with the critical timing of the trials.
“I would like to say to my fans and my family and my sponsorships and to the haters too: I apologize. As much as I’m disappointed, I know [this] doesn’t represent myself or the community that has shown me great support and great love,” she said on “TODAY.” “And to y’all, I feel y’all and I apologize… I [didn’t] know how to deal with my emotions and control my emotions during that time.”
“I’m human,” she added on Twitter.
Richardson said she’ll be “grateful” if allowed to compete in the relay, but for now she’s focusing on “doing what I need to do to heal myself.” After news of the young athlete’s suspension broke, many people on Twitter showed her support.
“Sha’Carri Richardson should not have to present her trauma to us to seek our forgiveness for anything. She doesn’t have to be traumatized to justify consuming cannabis,” one person tweeted. “This entire society is lost.”
“If you’re afraid of Sha’Carri smoking the brakes off y’all, just say that, but suspending people for using marijuana—a billion-dollar industry at this point—is ridiculous,” another added.
In 2009, Michael Phelps was suspended from USA Swimming for three months and lost a Kellogg’s corporate sponsorship after a photo of him smoking weed went viral.