I’ve written before about my general lack of interest in sports, and that lack of interest extends to the Olympics. Therefore I don’t recall having ever heard of this woman before last week. Apparently she’s a big deal in the world of track and field events, may have broken some world records, or seemed likely to, I don’t know exactly, I still haven’t paid that much attention to the specifics. But what I know is that she was set to compete in the Olympics this month, but a drug test revealed that she’d smoked marijuana and so she was suspended from competing. And it seems like everyone is flipping out over this.
Pretty much all of the press I’m seeing about this, including comments on social media including from many friends of mine, is talking about how unfair this is. Some folks are even calling this racist and sexist, part of some Vast Conspiracy to Suppress Black Excellence or something.
But meanwhile, I’m over here thinking:
Seriously, I don’t see the problem. This was the rule, no marijuana, she knew that when she signed up for this. And she willingly broke the rule, so now she has to suffer the consequences. When did this become a radical notion?
People are saying the anti-marijuana rule is archaic, and should be repealed. After all, it’s not like it’s a performance enhancing drug, and it is legal in the state that Richardson come from. Okay, sure, that’s a logical view to have. But this isn’t about what should be the rule, it’s about what is the rule. Go ahead and try to get the Olympic committee to change the rule for future events, but until that happens, everyone has to abide by the rules that are currently in place. And it wouldn’t be fair to let this one person get away with breaking rule just because we really really like her.
My position on this is similar to what I said in 2016 regarding the Presidential election, when many people were saying that Hillary Clinton should be President because she got the most votes, which always make sense. But the rule for that election were that whomever got the most Electoral College votes would be President, and that was Donald Trump. That was the rule that the candidates ran under, so you need to stick with it. If you think it’s a bad rule (which I do) then change it later for future elections (which is still something nobody on either side has made a serious push to do).
People are also pointing to Richardson’s explanation that her marijuana use was in response to her finding out about the sudden and unexpected death of her mother, and trying to make this some kind of statement on mental health. Sorry, I’m calling B.S. on that too. I sympathize with her grief and am sorry for her loss, but that still isn’t an excuse for breaking this rather simple rule.
Part of being an athlete is being disciplined, and learning self-control. If Sha’Carri Richardson had shown better self-control she wouldn’t be in this mess. It’s her own fault. So be it.