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Psaki added that Richardson is an “inspirational woman” who has been through a lot in her personal life and that she is one of the fastest women in the world. “And that’s an important part of this story, too,” she said.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) Said earlier Friday that he is opposed to Sprinter Richardson’s suspension for a positive marijuana test and is urging President Joe Biden to do the same.
“The press that loves to bathe in the intersectionality of race-gender sports should ask @JoeBiden if he thinks Sha’carri Richardson should be banned from representing America because she is in most States uses drug law that does not affect performance. ” Gaetz tweeted, adding, “I sure don’t.”
Later on Friday afternoon, Gaetz, one of the youngest congressmen, highlighted the generational gap in marijuana politics by tweeting an AP story with the snappy comment: “Okay, boomer. ”
This feeling is shared on the other side of the aisle as well. Senator Cory Booker (DNJ) tweeted in support of the sprinter, saying, “Sha’Carri is an incredible athlete with a bright future. The destruction of her dreams over a substance that should be legal across the country is devastating and wrong. Her sincere apology shows her strength as well in the face of adversity. “
Biden is inconsistent with his own party on marijuana politics. Polls show a strong majority of Americans are in favor of legalization, but Biden has resisted such demands and his government has refused to move the drug, which the federal government believes is an illicit substance with no medical value. However, Biden called for the decriminalization of marijuana during his successful 2020 presidential campaign. After he took office, five Biden White House employees lost their jobs for confessing to smoking marijuana.
Richardson, who took first place in the 100-meter run in the US Olympic trials last weekend, could be disqualified from the US track and field team for her positive marijuana test. On Friday, she accepted a month-long suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, disqualified her test results and made sure she will not compete in the Tokyo 100-meter individual race. This news came just a few weeks before the 2020 Olympics officially start, which has been postponed from the previous year due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Richardson appeared on NBC’s Today show Friday morning, apologizing for her test result and saying she used marijuana as a coping mechanism. When asked if she hopes to compete in the 4×100 relay, she said, “Right now, I’m just putting all of my time and energy into what I have to do, which is to heal myself. So if I am allowed to receive this blessing, then I will be grateful for it, but if not now, then I will just focus on myself. ”
Gaetz has long spoken out against his own party’s orthodoxy by advocating for the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, dating back to his days as the Florida State House representative before his 2020 election to Congress.
Gaetz continued to tweet about Richardson well into the afternoon, saying Medina Spirit, the horse that won the Kentucky Derby under a veil of suspicion, “has been on harder drugs than Sha’Carri Richardson and is still racing.” Gaetz later tweeted a message from Richardson that read, “I’m human,” and added, “Maybe if @POTUS and @VP If you did not support the racist drug war, they would have the back of this American master. ”
Gaetz told POLITICO that he had said more to defend Richardson than Biden and Harris – adding that the president should speak out against the “stupid policies” that keep Richardson from competing.
“How come no one asks Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for their perspective on this American athlete who cannot represent our country because a substance does not affect our performance and is illegal in most of our states?” Asked Gaetz, referring to himself while on the “Wake Press”.
“What’s wrong with America? What happened to us? “He went on.” For example, have we woken up and trapped in a remote culture at the same time that we wouldn’t allow this woman to represent our country? ”
In Gaetz’s home state of Florida, Black Democrats were similarly outraged by Richardson’s treatment. Florida State Representative Michele Rayner-Goolsby noted the issue of racial differences in drug policy came up during a committee hearing for the state she sits on.
“There is a lot to unpack here. I remember doing the point-in committee on treating blacks differently in relation to marijuana. Exhibition 985, ”she continued Twitter. “Run Sha’Carri!”
Richardson had a message for Today viewers when she apologized for her test results.
“Don’t judge me because I am human,” she said. “I just run a little faster.”
Marc Caputo and Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.