The conversation surrounding Sha’Carri Richardson’s disqualification from the Tokyo Olympics following a failed drug test continues after another athlete promoted her usage of and a new line of a slightly different substance at this year’s event.
Though Richardson was absent from the 2020 games, which started on Friday, July 23, she was definitely a trending topic as many called out the hypocrisy in the organization banning her from the event while U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team star Megan Rapinoe discussed how she incorporates CBD — a chemical found in marijuana — into her daily regimen.
In an article published recently by Forbes, Rapinoe promoted Mendi, a company she and her sister Rachael Rapinoe co-founded, which sells hemp-derived cannabidiol products. The former gold medalist reportedly has been very vocal about her use of CBD gummies and topical sticks over the years for training. Of course, it’s best to note that although hemp plants and marijuana plants are both the same species, hemp is defined as a cannabis plant that contains 0.3 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a high. Meanwhile, marijuana is a cannabis plant with more than 0.3 percent THC, unlike CBD, which does not contain any THC.
Still, in light of the weed scandal involving Richardson, the advertisement garnered backlash from critics online who labeled the Olympics as “racist” and “sexist,” including critic and podcaster Carolyn Hinds, who wrote, “They disqualified Sha’Carri Richardson for testing positive for marijuana, but have these two white women promoting it and talking about using it to help them as athletes.” She added, “The @Olympics is racist and sexist towards Black women. They’re disgusting.”
Another user wrote, “White supremacy is banning Sha’Carri Richardson for smoking weed while Megan Rapinoe gets praised for her use of CBD. Highly reminiscent of how crack cocaine is infinitely more heavily criminalized than powder cocaine to ensure the disproportionate incarceration of Black people.”
“Wish Megan Rapinoe would see the optics of this CBD thing, in light of Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension from the Olympics,” expressed a third.
As previously reported, the 21-year-old solidified her spot on Team USA after winning the 100 meters final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in a time of 10.86 seconds last month. However, during public celebration, it was reported that the Texas native would be suspended for 30 days after testing positive for marijuana, which later resulted in a full-on ban. She ultimately apologized, and during an interview with NBC, the track star revealed she used the substance to help cope with the death of her biological mother, who passed away a week before the trials — heartbreaking information she said she discovered through a reporter.
While recreational marijuana use is legal in many states, including Oregon, where the trials took place, it is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances. WADA operates under the World Anti-Doping Agency and its legislations. Still, athletes may use cannabis outside of competition.
In Rapinoe’s case, CBD is not classified as a “substance of abuse” by WADA. However, Richardson ingested the marijuana before her competition, meaning she ran with the substance still in her bloodstream, subsequently disqualifying her.