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Olympic Rules: Systemically Racist?

Home/Biblical Family, Equality & Unity, Journal/Olympic Rules: Systemically Racist?

Absolute Law

The Bible teaches Christians that God is the embodiment of Justice and that His Law is absolute. It also teaches that sin itself is an act that falls short of God’s glory. For example, take James 4:17, which says, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

Psalm 19:1-2 shows that humanity has no excuse for failing to acknowledge the Lord and His Law because this Law is evident all around us, even if we are too proud to see it: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.”

Temporary Suspension

Similarly, this moral lesson applies to the secular world: if someone knows the rules and fails to follow them, they have earned the negative consequences that result. Unfortunately, this lesson is not always learned.

For instance, Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (better known as “AOC”) proudly attempted to put pressure on the US Anti-Doping Agency to reverse their decision after black runner Sha’Carri Richardson tested positive for marijuana usage and received a temporary suspension from the Olympic team that will prevent her from competing in the women’s 100-meter dash at the Tokyo Olympics.

“Rooted in Racism”

Even though Richardson herself has (rightly) taken responsibility for her use of marijuana, according to AOC, Richardson should not have been suspended because “Their decision lacks any scientific basis. It’s rooted solely in the systemic racism that’s long driven anti-marijuana laws.”

No matter what AOC may say, racism is not the driving factor in this decision.

Clear Guidelines

First, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which regulates the substances used by athletes in events like the Olympics, has a clearly published set of guidelines that specifically prohibit the use of “cannabinoids” in competition.

This rule applies to all athletes, including white Olympic-hopeful Cory Juneau, who was also suspended before the 2020 Olympic Games for marijuana use. The rule itself was not applied to Richardson because she is black, it was applied to her because she is an athlete.

Second, banned substances are only included on the WADA list if they meet two of three criteria:

1) It enhances, or could potentially enhance an athlete’s performance

2) it could pose a health risk for athletes

3) It “violates the spirit of sport.”

Violates the Spirit of Sport

The Centers for Disease Control acknowledges that marijuana usage can lead to increased risk of stroke and heart attack, which checks the box for a health risk.  Furthermore, an article co-authored by the scientific director of WADA, Olivier Rabin, also notes that marijuana use “is not consistent with the athlete as a role model for young people,” which points to the notion that marijuana “violates the spirit of sport.”  Clearly, it meets two criteria.

Justified Suspension

No matter what AOC may think, Richardson’s suspension was justified. It was not the result of racism, but the result of Richardson’s decisions, the same decisions that she took ownership of in an interview where she stated: “I know what I did, I know what I’m supposed to do…and I still made that decision.” [8]

Personal Resposibility Wins

Biblical morality makes clear that, if someone knows the rules and fails to follow them, then they deserve to receive the consequences. Sha’Carri Richardson displayed personal responsibility and moral fortitude by admitting her actions. However, one of the nation’s outspoken politicians exploited an Olympic athlete’s mistake to grandstand for her own political platform.

Matthew 23:12
Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

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2021-08-04T07:16:24-04:00
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