The word of the day is grace and it's what we should be extending to Sha’Carri Richardson at this time. Even with the world divided over the sprinter's future, her brand partner Nike drew their line in the sand to show their full support amid the public scrutiny.
Last week, Richardson made headlines after reports shared that she had been hit with a suspension following a failed drug test that tested positive for marijuana. As a result, she was knocked out of the summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. Richardson issued an exclusive public statement on NBC “Today” show last Friday (July 2) in which she owned up to her mistake and addressed her "fans, family, sponsorships and the haters, too" with an apology saying "I want to take responsibility for my actions. I know what I did, I know what I'm supposed to do ... and I still made that decision."
Her “I am human" tweet that she shared right before reports of her positive drug test circulated was echoed her in her virtual interview and pulled on the heart strings of many fans who wished the outcome was much different for the track and field athlete. Nonetheless, she still maintains her strong brand partnership with Nike – who has worked with her since 2019 – who also issued a public statement backing the runner's public apology and willingness to be accountable for her actions.
“We appreciate Sha’Carri’s honesty and accountability and will continue to support her through this time," the brand said. Nike has also showed their public support for other high-profile athletes who have been the subject of media frenzy in previous years, including Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods.
Richardson's suspension was described by USA Track & Field officials in a statement as “incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved." While she won't be able to participate in her signature 100-meter event, the runner could still have the opportunity to compete in relay events. When asked of this on the "Today" show, Richardson responded saying, "Right now, I’m just putting all of my time and energy into dealing with what I need to do, which is heal myself. So if I’m allowed to receive that blessing, then I’m grateful for it, but if not, right now I’m going to just focus on myself."
The athlete confessed to consuming marijuana after a reporter told her that her biological mother had passed away a few days before the U.S. Track and Field Trials in Oregon last month – a legal state for the substance. Between the intense public pressure and dealing with the death of her mother, Richardson responded in a very human way and for that many people still continue to support her. The only hope now is that she's able to privately heal without media attention and find peace in her decisions moving forward.