The Sha’Carri Richardson story tells us far more about social media’s ability to stir racial division than allegedly outdated Olympic drug rules.
Richardson, a favorite to win the women’s 100-meter dash at the Tokyo Olympics, is a cause celebre across corporate and social media because she was handed a one-month suspension for a positive marijuana test. The suspension will prevent her from competing in track and field’s star-making event.
Richardson has indicated she smoked marijuana to cope with the news of the death of her biological mother.
Social media quickly turned Richardson, who is black, into yet another victim of America’s “systemic racism.” Users, big and small, across all platforms claimed the U.S. Olympic Committee and Anti-Doping Agency treated Richardson more harshly than white swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was predictably hyperbolic and stupid.
“The criminalization and banning of cannabis is an instrument of racist and colonial policy,” she tweeted. “The IOC should reconsider its suspension of Ms. Richardson and any athletes penalized for cannabis use.”