Kanye West and Beats By Dre Just Made a Huge Statement About American Sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson

American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson had a chance to be an Olympic hero. That chance was sadly taken from her after a positive drug test.

But while Richardson’s story seems sad at first glance, she appeared in a commercial that showed her resilience in the face of an unjust rule. Let’s take a closer look at how Kanye West and Beats by Dre made a massive statement by featuring Richardson in their most recent ad. 

Sha’Carri Richardson’s story is alternately uplifting and sad

Richardson initially made headlines for her stunning performance at the U.S. Track and Field trials, qualifying to represent her country in the 100 meter race. According to MSN, that result was nullified after Richardson admittedly tested positive for marijuana use. 

Richardson was clear that her positive drug test was in no way related to performance-enhancing drugs, talking to The Today Show to say: 

“It will never be a steroid attached to the name Sha’Carri Richardson…Don’t judge me because I am human. I’m you. I just happen to run a little faster.”

The rule and Richardson’s suspension are equally perplexing. Marijuana is becoming increasingly legalized in the U.S. for its medicinal uses related to pain management. It gave Richardson zero competitive advantage. 

The Beats by Dre commercial that makes a huge statement about Richardson

Richardson may not be getting her shot at Olympic glory, but she did receive an endorsement deal from headphone manufacturer Beats by Dre. The company featured her in an ad they premiered during Game Six of the NBA Finals. The ad is simple – it features close-up shots of Richardson in training with Kanye West’s “No Child Left Behind” playing over the video. It’s followed by the caption “Live Your Truth.” 

The ad is both inspiring and powerful, showing Richardson’s defiance in the face of archaic and unnecessary regulations against marijuana use. It makes no mention of the actual Olympic games, instead highlighting Richardson’s grace, elegance, and athletic prowess. 

It calls into question why Richardson isn’t being allowed to participate in the Olympics when there are so many other questionable aspects of the Tokyo edition of the Summer Games. 

Sha’Carri Richardson’s story is one of the many questionable Olympic stories of the past year

As with much of the sports world for the past year, the Olympics have been thrown into a state of confusion and disarray due to the coronavirus pandemic. Richardson’s inspiring story would have been a perfect one for the event, but instead, viewers and fans won’t get to see her. It’s just another example of an Olympics that has seemed to be damned from the start. 

One controversy is that the Olympics are still being allowed to go on. While it would be heartbreaking to see so many athletes not get an opportunity to participate, holding the games in the middle of a pandemic seems questionable from a public health standpoint. Further postponing the games or canceling them altogether would have been the safer move, but the Summer Games persist anyway. 

There’s also the question of who the Games will let compete. For example, BuzzFeed reported that one American fencer is being allowed to compete despite having three sexual assault allegations levied against him. Certainly, that person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but that doesn’t mean they should still receive the privilege of representing their country in the Olympics. To allow one person under investigation to compete while Richardson is banned for a victimless offense seems laughable at best. 

The hypocrisy of this year’s Olympic Games is on full display, with Richardson serving as the poster child for it. The Beats by Dre commercial only shined a brighter spotlight on it.

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