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After the announcement that Sha’Carri Richardson would not be competing in the Tokyo Olympics this year, Black Twitter vowed to boycott the event in solidarity.
But U.S. sprinter Gabby Thomas is urging the Black community to rethink its boycott.
“It really hurts to see so many black people choosing not to watch the Olympics this year. There are so many black athletes who have put in YEARS of hard work for this moment- myself included. We want your support,” she tweeted.
“Additionally, I worry some of the anger and disdain may be misplaced. The “Olympics” and those at the IOC have nothing to do with current events taking place.”
Thomas, a Harvard graduate, qualified for the 200m and was named to the USA’s 4x100m team.
Many had hoped that Richardson would be named as part of the relay team as her 30-day suspension would have expired by then.
In a statement, USATF said it was “incredibly sympathetic toward Sha’Carri Richardson’s extenuating circumstances” and “fully agrees” that international rules regarding marijuana should be reevaluated.
The statement continues, “So while our heartfelt understanding lies with Sha’Carri, we must also maintain fairness for all of the athletes who attempted to realize their dreams by securing a place on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team,” the statement read.
Richardson tested positive for a chemical found in marijuana.
“I was definitely triggered and blinded by emotions, blinded by badness, and hurting, and hiding hurt,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show, sharing that she used marijuana to cope with the death of her mother and to deal with the stress of training for the Olympics. “I know I can’t hide myself, so in some type of way, I was trying to hide my pain.”
We stand with Richardson and believe she should have been selected for the relay team, but a widespread boycott would mean turning out backs on other athletes who have also worked hard to realize their dreams.