By Ken Reed
Okay, so Sha’Carri Richardson knew the rules regarding marijuana use and broke them in a moment of high emotional stress after learning her biological mom had died. She owned up to her decision and isn’t looking for empathy.
But please. Come on. Does smoking some pot — which is no more a performance-enhancing drug than taking several shots of Tito’s vodka before approaching the starting line — really require taking away an opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games, something Richardson has worked hard for across many years?
Of course it doesn’t. When it comes to their thinking on marijuana, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) are stuck in the 1960’s.
Nobody in their right mind thinks using marijuana enhances the performance of a 100 meter sprinter. Marijuana slows reaction time (not helpful in getting out of the blocks in a short sprint, or running faster than the fastest women in the United States).
When announcing Richardson’s positive test and suspension, the USADA cited a 2011 research report which included this beauty: Marijuana use is “not consistent with the athlete as role model for young people around the world.”
Please. Stop with the moralizing.
USADA and WADA have way overstepped their bounds. They should focus on truly performance-enhancing substances, not delivering sermons on morality.
Research by a WADA scientist in 2018 concluded there is no direct evidence of performance-enhancing effects on athletes from marijuana use. Well, duh. Then change your silly, out-dated rules!
WADA and USADA also need to catch up with the rest of the world. Marijuana use, for medicinal and recreational purposes, is now legal in many parts of the United States and around the world. Every major pro sports league in the United States has significantly loosened their policies on marijuana in recent years. The NFL has eliminated marijuana suspensions and the NBA has stopped random testing.
Kicking Richardson out of the Olympics for smoking a joint is sad. And it was completely avoidable. WADA and USADA simply needed to update their marijuana policies through the years.
But WADA and USADA are frozen in the stone age. And, as a result, Richardson will have to watch the 100m race in the Olympics from a couch like the rest of us.
That’s just not right.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans, why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks, and the fact the vast majority of players are for more protective netting in stadiums.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon