Sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson issued a brief statement at USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Sunday, decrying the treatment given to athletes across all sports from members of the media.
Richardson had previously avoided speaking to reporters after missing out on the finals in her specialties, the 100 meters and 200 meters, at the meet. As a result, she will not be a member of Team USA at the 2022 World Athletics Championships next month.
“I’m coming to speak, not on just my behalf but on all athletes behalf, that when you guys [reporters] do interviews, you should respect athletes more,” Richardson began. “Y’all should understand them, coming from whether they’re winning, whether they’re losing, whatever the case may be. Athletes deserve way more respect then when y’all just come and throw cameras into their faces.
“Understand how an athlete operates and then ask your questions. Then, be more understanding of the fact that they are still human, no matter the fact that y’all are just trying to get something to put out in an article to make a dollar.”
Richardson failed to reach the final in the 200 meters on Sunday, finishing fifth in her semifinal and 10th overall with a time of 22.47 seconds. The showing came after she was fifth in her heat in the first round of the 100 meters, failing to advance after posting a time of 11.31.
Following both events, Richardson walked—and even jogged—past a group of media members who had queued up to speak with her after the race. She did not respond to questions from any of the reporters present.
Prior to this week’s championship meet, Richardson had turned in a handful of promising performances this year. At the inaugural NYC Grand Prix earlier this month, she won the 200 meters in 22.38 and came in second in the 100 meters in 10.85. She also posted a sub-11 seconds 100 meters in late May at the annual Prefontaine Classic, finishing second to Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica.
Richardson’s latest performance comes approximately one year after she won the women’s 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials with a time of 10.86 but was suspended for one month by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after testing positive for marijuana in July. The suspension effectively ruled Richardson out of the Tokyo Olympics last year, where she was a top contender to land on the podium.