There is no question Sha’Carri Richardson is a popular and very talented athlete. I love her enthusiasm and her strength of character. This 21 year old woman has been in the news a lot recently. Sha’Carri Richardson qualified in several events for the Tokyo Olympics in the 100 m sprint and the 4×100 m relay. She’s amazingly fast and currently is the sixth fastest woman runner ever. She has captured the hearts and minds of fans everywhere.

She also made a mistake and broke rules with regard to drug use before her Olympic trial meet. The International Olympic Committee’s subcommittee, the World Anti-Doping Agency, decided she would be ineligible for one MONTH from the Olympics, which takes her out of the running for the 100 meter sprint race. This news was met with the roars of outraged people filling the various media with verbal and written demands to the WADA to “Let She’Carri Run!”

To them, I say, “Whoa, folks!” Take a step back and think of how that would affect not only her, but others. It is truly refreshing it is to see how Ms. Richardson is handling the situation. Take a lesson from Ms. Richardson.  Look at the facts: She didn’t whine, make excuses, cry, or beg her fans to go to war for her. She instead admitted to ingesting marijuana before her qualifying races. She admitted she was wrong. She accepted her punishment, which is to be held ineligible to run in the 100 m race. She apologized publicly. And she seems willing to suffer the consequences.

In other words, Sha’Carri Richardson has miles more CLASS and ETHICS than she could ever attain through – and that’s saying one heck of a lot.  Her courage and acceptance of the aftermath of her decision regarding marijuana will be in the history books for YEARS! Don’t take away the role model of real virtue, morality and integrity that this young woman has become.

Sha’Carri appears to understand the ramifications of her actions, which include the effects the punishment will have on all other – present and future – athletes. What if the Olympic Committee does what the crowd wants and merely scolds her and lets her participate.  What would you think if you were the second or third or fourth place finisher in any kind of a race, and you’d worked  your tail off and followed the rules, only to have someone win whose performance may have been enhanced a second or two by breaking the rules?

Sha’Carri Richardson has morals. She has pride. She has convictions. And she has dredged from deep in her soul a set of ethics that I think she can be prouder of than winning any medal because she got these convictions from her beloved grandmother. And believe me, don’t go messing with any Grandmother’s rules or teachings. You can end up gettin’ your behind whupped – and it’s much worse than any month of ineligibility.

So please. Be like Sha’Carri Richardson – in ethics, at least. I don’t think she’ll ever do something to disappoint her family, her fans or herself ever again. I think she learned her lesson and this mistake is  going to be a powerful deterrent to future athletes. That’s integrity and it’s a wonderful gift to give others. Too bad more people don’t understand that.

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