Former NFL running back Ricky Williams is weighing in not only on how his marijuana use impacted his own career, but also on how marijuana has wrongly led to the suspension of United States sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson.
“I went from just being an athlete to being an advocate, and I think this is an opportunity for a young athlete to realize sports is a platform,” Williams said on CNN. “She has a perfect opportunity with so many people in the world having this conversation. So I think she should be proud of herself.”
Richardson, a Dallas native, was crowned the champion of the 100 meter dash at the United States Olympic Trials. But she is facing a 30-day suspension for testing positive for marijuana. The gifted sprinter has admitted to the use of marijuana, saying she smoked it as a way to cope upon learning about the death of her biological mother.
Richardson used social media to take the blame for her usage.
“I’m sorry, I can’t be y’all Olympic Champ this year but I promise I’ll be your World Champ next year,” Richardson wrote.
The Tokyo Games are scheduled to begin on Friday, July 23.
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Over the course of his 11-year NFL career, Williams, a Heisman Trophy winner at UT, faced multiple suspensions due to marijuana use. Marijuana remains classified as a banned substance by the NFL, but the league under the most recent CBA is lessening its punishment for those who fail drug tests, as players are now fined, not suspended, for positive tests.
Williams credits the NFL Players Association for pushing the league to ease its rules regarding marijuana while also noting his belief that he would not have won the Heisman without the benefits of marijuana, and would be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame if not for the demonization of the drug.
As a result, he's become a spokesman on the issue - and obviously hopes Richardson joins him.