That Sha’Carri Richardson deserves her consequences because she knew the rules and broke them anyway, is a flawed argument. If you are followers of the thinking of Henry David Thoreau or Martin Luther King, Jr, you might even argue that when a rule is unjust you have a moral imperative to break it.
Whether marijuana is performance enhancing is also irrelevant. Lots of things are performance enhancing, vitamins, diet, EXERCISE.
The only criteria that should be considered in whether to ban something is whether the substance is a significant risk to health (as can be argued of steroids), and that its effectiveness is also clear, such that allowing any athlete to use it, would require, in effect, that all athletes follow suit, in order to compete. Marijuana neither poses that kind of health risk, nor is it’s effectiveness clear. That it might work for a given athlete’s regiment, I am open to believe, as I am open to the idea that it could hurt another’s. I am content to leave that up to the athlete. In that it has medical and therapeutic applications, among them, depression and even asthma, are we supposing to ban antidepressants and asthma medication too?
The crime here is not whether they smoke a joint, or whether they feel that attending press conferences takes them out of their mental game, or whether they wear a swim cap that works with black hair, or weather they miss a random drug test for which there is no reasonable suspicion and no due process or assumed innocence. It is not even whether they tested positive for steroids, as long as there is a possibility of a mistake for which all of the burden of proof falls to them.
The crime lies with the establishment who would deny athletes who dedicated their entire lives to their sport the culmination of what they earned, and who deny us, the fans, the opportunity to see who really is the best, and who would deny even the remaining athletes, the chance for victories untainted by thoughts of, “yes, but would they really have won if…..” And the crime is how often this sort of thing affects black athletes.