In wake of sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s failed drug test, putting her Olympic bid in jeopardy, former NFL running back and longtime marijuana advocate Ricky Williams says he hopes the track star will join his fight for allowing athletes to use weed without repercussions.
After Richardson won the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic trials last month, the 21-year-old tested positive for THC, the chemical in marijuana, and will now not be able to run the event at the Tokyo Olympics. Richardson said she turned to pot after she found out, from a reporter, that her mother had died.
Williams, who was suspended repeatedly for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy during his 11-year career, told CNN that he hopes what happened to Richardson further advances the discussion of athletes’ marijuana use.
“I went from just being an athlete to being an advocate, and I think this is an opportunity for a young athlete to realize sports is a platform,” Williams said. “She has a perfect opportunity with so many people in the world having this conversation. So I think she should be proud of herself.”
Marijuana is still classified as a banned substance by the NFL, but the league has recently lessened its punishment for those who fail drug tests. Players are now fined, not suspended, for positive tests. Williams credits the NFL Players Association for pushing the league to ease its rules regarding marijuana.