suspension of Sha’Carri Richardson stirred up a flurry of
emotions for me. I was angry, saddened, disgusted. The fastest woman
in the U.S.was stopped cold in her hot tracks.
pint-sized runner has taken on the bodacious and colorful persona of
Florence Griffin Joyner. The fastest woman of all time, Flo-Jo
pursued a record-breaking career path all the way to the 1988
like Sha’Carri, Naomi Osaka, Allyson Felix and Simone Biles
make me want to ask, why submit yourselves to this racist, sexist
bullshit? I know why. These are basically kids who want to break
boundaries and bend human possibilities. They love what they do. We
are in awe of their talents yet we know that they - in the words of
Simone Biles - have targets on their backs.
happens when they face character assassination, sexual assault,
relentless stress, insanely high expectations, unjust media scrutiny
and lack of support from the sports industry which exploits them and
was blazing to Tokyo until she got the abrupt news that her
biological mother had died. She smoked some weed to help her deal
with the trauma of her loss, on top of the pressure of preparing for
the Olympics. When she tested positive for marijuana, Sha’Carri
was summarily suspended by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, putting an
end to any performances that pushed her limits to break new records.
agency’s action was met with demands to review the drug
policies in light of the legalization of drugs in states across the
country. Even if the drug policy is changed in the Olympics, the
landmines facing Black athletes are definitely more camouflaged than
the ones the rest of us face.
is because these melanated athletes should be grateful for the
opportunity to be super-exploited. Further, they should suffer in
silence. They should shut up and play.
hope the recent light on the fragility of muscle-bound athletes gives
them the okay to practice self-care. They have the absolute right to
make decisions about their sanity, their careers and their futures.
sports industry, including the Olympics, is out of control. Heads
looked away while hundreds of children were molested by Dr. Larry
Nasser. Student athletes are golden gooses for university athletic
departments. Professional athletes are auctioned off to the highest
have a role in this madness. We should support the rights of athletes
to bargain for fair labor contracts, to shield them from racist media
tropes, to protect their freedom of speech, and to expect that our
children will be mentally and physically safe while playing sports.
don’t know what the future holds for Sha’Carri, whether
she will continue her Olympic dreams or not. I just want her to find
her higher, grounded self in her own colorful way.