Sha’Carri Richardson implores media to treat athletes with ‘more respect’

Sha’Carri Richardson competes in the women’s 200-meter preliminary round during the USATF Outdoor Championships. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Sha’Carri Richardson is calling for athletes to be treated with more respect by the media, speaking with reporters after failing to qualify for the finals of the 200-meter sprint at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships this weekend.

She also failed to advance in the 100-meter sprints, meaning that she will miss out on July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

While she declined to speak to reporters on Saturday following the 100, Richardson spoke following her 200 semifinal.

“I’m coming to speak, not just on my behalf but on all athletes’ behalves, that when you guys do interviews, y’all should respect athletes more,” Richardson said. “Y’all should understand whether they’re coming from winning, whether they’re losing, whatever the case may be. Athletes deserve way more respect than 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 just to the fact that y’all are just trying to put something out in an article to make a dollar. Thank you.”

She later backed up the sentiments on Twitter and revealed that she will be coming out with her own media platform “so fans can really connect and learn the sport, as well as the athletes and the stories and questions put out is what the world actually want to know and it’s real, not sold for a dollar.”

Many athletes have grown increasingly vocal over the past year about the nature of press conferences. Last year, Naomi Osaka was fined and later stepped away from the French Open after being fined for skipping a press conference.

At the time, she said that part of the decision was due to the nature of interviews following athlete losses.

“I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they’re down and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it,” she wrote.

Many then backed Osaka’s decision, including Venus Williams.

“I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will,” Williams said when asked how she coped with the media. “So no matter what you say or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me. So that’s how I deal with it.”

In a later Tea with A & Phee podcast episode, Napheesa Collier and A’ja Wilson backed Osaka’s decision.

“It makes me really mad that the media scrutinizing her like they’re entitled to her personal life,” said Collier. You are not entitled to our personal life. You would not have a job if it weren’t for the people you’re covering. So to think that you’re entitled to their life is really frustrating.”

“Sometimes if we just lost a whole game and you’re asking me how does it feel, it’s like, I get you might want the in-depth emotional answer but at the same time… I haven’t even gotten a chance to digest what’s going on,” added Wilson.