Sha'Carri Richardson: Self-proclaimed 'stoner' Seth Rogen slams 'racist' Team USA
Sha'Carri Richardson has been banned for a month after failing the drug test, causing her to miss out on the 100-meter race at Tokyo Olympics
Comedian Seth Rogen pushed back after President Joe Biden said it was right to ban sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson from the Olympics for failing a marijuana test. Biden, however, suggested that rules should be updated in the future.
The 21-year-old sprinter has reportedly been banned for a month after failing the drug test, causing her to miss out on the 100-meter race at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Richardson explained that she only used marijuana in a bid to cope with the death of her biological mother prior to the Oregon trials, according to the Daily Mail.
Addressing the suspension, Biden said it was proper for the athlete to be banned but that he was "really proud of the way she responded" after she appeared on the Today show and apologized. "The rules are the rules and everybody knows what the rules were going in. Whether they should remain that way or will is a totally different issue," Biden told CBS News reporter Bo Erickson.
The decision to ban Richardson, however, was not taken well by many. Notorious actor-comedian Rogen went so far as to accuse Team USA of "racism". Having been a vocal marijuana advocate for the longest time, the 'Pineapple Express' star tweeted on Friday that "the notion that weed is a problematic 'drug' is rooted in racism."
"It’s insane that Team USA would disqualify one of this country’s most talented athletes over thinking that’s rooted in hatred. It’s something they should be ashamed of. Also if weed made you fast, I’d be FloJo," 38-year-old Rogen said. He was jokingly referring to Florence Griffith Joyner, the fastest woman of all time, whose 1988 records are yet to be broken.
The notion that weed is a problematic “drug” is rooted in racism. It’s insane that Team USA would disqualify one of this country’s most talented athletes over thinking that’s rooted in hatred. It’s something they should be ashamed of. Also if weed made you fast, I’d be FloJo. https://t.co/swDLNoVcV3— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) July 2, 2021
Rogen's comments appeared to mirror those of New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "The criminalization and banning of cannabis is an instrument of racist and colonial policy," she tweeted on Friday, July 2. "The IOC should reconsider its suspension of Ms Richardson and any athletes penalized for cannabis use."
The criminalization and banning of cannabis is an instrument of racist and colonial policy.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 2, 2021
The IOC should reconsider its suspension of Ms. Richardson and any athletes penalized for cannabis use. This ruling along w/ IOC denial of swim caps for natural hair is deeply troubling. https://t.co/Ao1Yu8Ax9G
AOC joined with Rep Jamie Raskin on Friday, July 1, to send a letter to the U.S. and World Anti-Doping Agency, urging them to reconsider Richardson's suspension.
"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," the letter read. "We are also concerned that the continued prohibition of marijuana while your organizations allow recreational use of alcohol and other drugs reflects anti-drug laws and policies that have historically targeted Black and Brown communities while largely condoning drug use in white communities."
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, despite supporting Richardson, did not speak against the US Anti-Doping Agency's decision to suspend her. She praised the athlete as "an inspiring young woman" but maintained that it was "appropriate" for the USADA to make decisions based on existing policies.
"This was an independent decision made by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and not, not, a decision that would be made by the US government, as is appropriate," she said. "We will certainly leave them space and room to make their decisions about anti-doping policies that need to be implemented."
"I will also note that Sha'Carri Richardson is an inspiring young woman," Psaki added, noting that Richardson "has gone through a lot personally" and "happens to be one of the fastest women in the world."
Richardson has since apologized profusely, urging sport bosses to excuse her saying she only used the drug to cope with the death of her biological mother. "I just say don't judge me because I am human," she told NBC Today on Friday. "I'm you, I just happen to run a little faster."