SHA’CARRI Richardson’s family believe the top sprinter was dropped from the US Olympics team for smoking weed because she’s an African-American woman.
The fastest woman in America was dramatically left out of the 4×100 relay team that will be representing the US at the Tokyo Games after testing positive for marijuana.
Star sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson lost her place on the US Olympics team after testing positive for marijuanaCredit: Getty
Sha’Carri’s cousin Chasity Lanell has leapt to her defenceCredit: Chasity Lanell/Facebook
Chasity says her cousin is being ‘targeted’ because she’s African-AmericanCredit: Fame Flynet
She was disqualified last month from participating in individual Olympic events after testing positive for THC, the chemical found in marijuana.
Fans had hoped America’s fastest woman would be picked for the relay as it is set to take place after her suspension ends.
But a roster released by USA Track and Field this week did not include the 21-year-old track athlete.
Sha’Carri is currently America’s fastest womanCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Chasity says she believes ‘100 percent’ that her cousin will bounce back following the banCredit: Chasity Lanell/Facebook
Leaping to her defence, her cousin Chasity Lanell said it was “just a little marijuana” – but also admitted that the positive drug test had come as a surprise to the family.
Chasity, 30, a nail technician from Dallas, Texas, told The Sun: “I really feel that it’s unfair.
“Sha’Carri really does inspire a lot of people and everybody makes mistakes.
“She is going through a very hard time because of the loss of her mother.
“It’s unfair to take something from someone who started from the bottom and made their way up to the top, from nothing.
“People are judging her from the outside but they don’t really know what she’s going through on the inside.
The sprinter claims she only smoked weed to cope with the pain of losing her biological motherCredit: INSTAGRAM/ShaCarri Richardson
Chasity believes the ban is a ‘minor setback’ and her cousin will come back stronger than before
“It was just a little marijuana, it is a legal substance in the state where she took it.
“I really do believe that she has been targeted because she is an African-American woman.
“There’s a lot of stuff that happens to different celebrities, presidents and that kind of people but they don’t get exposed.
“Look how far they are taking it with her when it’s just marijuana.
“It’s not like she is doing any other type of drug.
“She just made a mistake, everyone makes mistakes when they’re going through a situation that they can’t handle.
“Sha’Carri will bounce back from this, 100 percent.
“This is just a minor setback for her, so she can focus on healing and expanding.
Fans had hoped Sha’Carri would be able to take part in the relay, which takes place after her ban endsCredit: INSTAGRAM/ShaCarri Richardson
The track and field star was left off the relay roster by USA Track and Field this weekCredit: Reuters
“I know she will come out of this very strong, she is a very strong young woman and has a lot of supporters.
“Everyone makes mistakes, no one out here perfect.
“As Sha’Carri stated, she is human. She’s a young person who is pursuing her dreams.
“We don’t have that many young black women out there getting their dreams.
“She’s doing the best that she can and I’m going to continue supporting her whatever she does.
“As long as she’s going out there and doing her best and making everyone proud, I’m with her 100 percent.
“The positive test was something that we were surprised about but no one knows what we all do behind closed doors.
“I believe it was just a stressful moment at the time and it was just like sipping some wine.“I don’t fault her for that at all.”
Sha’Carri has been backed by politicians and celebrities since her ban was announcedCredit: Getty
The athlete said this week that she was ‘accepting’ of the ban and looking to the futureCredit: AFP
Sha’Carri has received the support of numerous figures in sports, politics and show business since her ban was announced.
Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez branded the move as “racist and colonial”.
She tweeted: “The IOC should reconsider its suspension of Ms. Richardson and any athletes penalized for cannabis use.”
Superstar Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes also defended Shar’Carri this week, telling ESPN’s First Take program: “She put in the work.
“Even though she made a mistake, like we all make mistakes … to not let her be at the Olympics at all is pretty ridiculous to me.”
The track and field star also received support from celebrities such as Cardi B, Drake, Snoop Dogg and Gabrielle Union.
However, President Joe Biden appeared to defend the ban when asked about it.
He said: “The rules are the rules, and everybody knows what the rules were going in.
“Whether they should remain the rules is a different issue, but the rules are the rules.”
Sha’Carri herself said this week that she is “accepting” of the ban and focused on the future.
She told TMZ: “I understand the situation that’s going on.
“So, I’m accepting of it, and I just know what I have to do moving forward in my career.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency wrote in a letter to members of Congress on Friday that the ban is a “heartbreaking situation” and that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s rules on marijuana “must change”.
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