Last week, sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson faced another slew of disappointing headlines after she failed to qualify for the world championships.
A reporter asked the 22-year-old at Hayward Field how she felt about the weekend. Richardson responded, calling out the U.S. media for not treating athletes with more respect.
“What I have to say, y’all can all take this interview and do whatever you want to do with it. I’m coming to speak, not on just on my behalf, but on all athletes’ behalf, that when you guys do interviews, y’all should respect athletes more. Y’all should understand them, coming from whether they’re winning, whether they’re losing, whatever the case may be, athletes deserve way more respect than when y’all just come and throw cameras into their faces,” she said.
Richardson won the 100 meters in June 2020 with a time of 10.86 seconds — coming in 0.13 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Javianne Oliver at the Olympic trials.
The athlete faced backlash for testing positive for marijuana- a non-performance-enhancing drug. She was just 21 and at the time, second only in the world to Jamaican star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and was lauded as the “female Usain Bolt.”
What’s even more frustrating is that months later, Russian skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for the heart drug trimetazidine. The drug increases oxygen flow to the heart, which can also enhance an athlete’s performance by limiting rapid swings in blood pressure.
Velieva was still allowed to compete in the women’s figure skating competition at the 2022 Beijing Games despite failing the test.
Richardson urged the media to report from a place of empathy and understanding.
“Understand how an athlete operates and then ask your questions. Then be more understanding of the fact that they are still human, no matter just to the fact that y’all are just trying to get something to put out in an article to make a dollar,” she concluded. “Thank you.”