President Joe Biden on Saturday condoned the suspension of track star Sha’carri Richardson, but said he was “really proud of the way” she responded to the announcement.
Richardson has been in the national spotlight since her victories at the Olympic trials in June, but on Friday, she received a 30-day suspension for cannabis consumption which will bar her from some events during the Tokyo Games later this month.
The World Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency both label cannabis as a banned substance for athletes.
“Everybody knows what the rules are going in,” Biden told reporters who asked about Richardson during an event in Michigan. “Whether they should remain that way, whether that should remain the rule, is a different issue. Rules are rules.”
On Thursday, when news first broke that she may face suspension, Richardson tweeted, “I’m human.”
In a “Today” show interview on Friday, she said she was aware of the ban on cannabis when she used it recently, but that she’d been using it to help her cope with her mother’s recent death. Richardson’s cannabis consumption occurred in Oregon, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2015.
“I know what I did, I know what I’m supposed to do, what I’m allowed not to do. And I still made that decision,” she said Friday.
In the time since her suspension was announced, Richardson has received an outpouring of support from the public, including fellow athletes, political figures and others who’d anticipated her appearance in the 100-meter dash after she excelled in the Olympic trials.
Richardson’s 30-day suspension officially began on June 28, putting her appearance in July’s 100-meter dash in doubt. However, she will likely still be eligible to participate in the 4x100 meter relay race if she is selected to the U.S. team.