'The Rules Are the Rules': Biden Defends Sha'Carri Richardson Suspension as AOC Attacks It

President Joe Biden told reporters Saturday that he supported the decision to suspend runner and sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson from running in the 2021 Olympics after she tested positive for marijuana.

"The rules are the rules," he said, adding, "I was really proud of the way she responded."

POTUS was also just asked about US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson being banned from the Olympics for marijuana use.

“The rules are the rules,” he said, adding, “I was really proud of the way she responded.”

— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) July 3, 2021

Richardson received national attention last month after winning her qualifying 100-meter race in Oregon. However, she learned around then that her biological mother had passed away, she said, and used marijuana as a way to cope.

She tweeted on Thursday a simple line, invoking both sympathy and criticism.

I am human

— Sha’Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) July 1, 2021

"I just say, don't judge me and I am human—I'm you, I just happen to run a little faster," she said on NBC's Today show on Friday. "I want to take responsibility for my actions. I know what I did. I know what I'm supposed to do. I know what I'm allowed not to do, and I still made that decision."

While Biden supported the decision to suspend her from racing in the Tokyo Olympics, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tied the suspension to racism.

Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland sent a formal letter to the Anti-Doping Agency on Friday urging that the decision be revoked.

"Their decision lacks any scientific basis. It's rooted solely in the systemic racism that's long driven anti-marijuana laws," she tweeted on Friday along with screenshots of the letter.

We worked with @RepRaskin and the Subcommittee on Civil Rights & Civil Liberties to formally ask @USAntiDoping to end Sha'Carri Richardson's suspension.

Their decision lacks any scientific basis. It's rooted solely in the systemic racism that's long driven anti-marijuana laws. pic.twitter.com/F28c5ScI1D

— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) July 3, 2021

She added in a follow-up tweet that a medical doctor from the Anti-Doping Agency confirmed that THC has no direct impact on performance.

"Not to mention, marijuana is legal in Oregon where Ms. Richardson was when she used it," Ocasio-Cortez added.

In a statement posted on Twitter, USA Track & Field said Richardson's situation "is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved," and said that it will "work with Sha'Carri to ensure she has ample resources to overcome any mental health challenges now and in the future."

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said in a statement on Friday morning, "While we are heartbroken, the USOPC is steadfast in its commitment to clean competition and it supports the anti-doping code, a positive test for any banned substance comes with consequences and we are working with the USATF to determine the appropriate next steps."

"We are dedicated to providing Sha'Carri the support services she needs during this difficult time," they added.

Matthew Schweich, a spokesperson from the Marijuana Policy Project, told Newsweek: "The suspension from the 100m race is deeply disappointing but not shocking given the existing rules. USA Track & Field's decision to exclude Richardson from the 4x100m relay is indefensible and surprising -- they proactively chose to add insult to injury."

In response to Ocasio-Cortez's accusation that Richardson's suspension is a result of systemic racism, Schweich said: "All cannabis prohibition policies in the United States are descendants of prejudice. And to this day, they result in social injustice due to disproportionate impacts on people of color."

He added: "President Biden should support efforts to reform the rules at the World Anti-Doping Agency. His reluctance to support any type of cannabis reform is very frustrating given that nearly 70 percent of the American people support cannabis legalization."

Updated July 7, 2021, 12:37 PM, with comment from the Marijuana Policy Project.

2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team
President Joe Biden reacted on Saturday to Sha'Carri Richardson's suspension, which will keep her from racing in the Toyko Olympics after testing positive for marijuana. Above, she's seen at Olympic trials on June 19 in Eugene, Oregon. Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images