Ricky Williams hopes Sha’Carri Richardson case leads to more talk of changing marijuana rules

During his NFL career, Ricky Williams was suspended repeatedly for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, and that led to him becoming an outspoken advocate for allowing athletes to use marijuana. Williams hopes that discussion is advanced after the suspension of track star Sha’Carri Richardson.

Richardson won the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic trials but will not get to run the event at the Olympics because she tested positive for marijuana. Williams said on CNN that he hopes Richardson joins him in speaking out against marijuana bans in sports.

“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. “She has a perfect opportunity with so many people in the world having this conversation. So I think she should be proud of herself.”

The NFL still classifies marijuana as a banned substance but now gives players fines, not suspensions, for positive tests. Williams credited the NFL Players Association for pushing the NFL to ease its marijuana rules.